Possible Drug-Related Explosion Investigated on Federal Campus

An explosion tore through a government lab in Maryland this weekend, and Montgomery County Police say they're investigating whether the blast was related to the manufacture of drugs.

The explosion occurred about 7:30 p.m. Saturday on the Gaithersburg, Md. campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal entity that's part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, a NIST representative confirmed.

Police and firefighters responded and found a blast shield inside a NIST building had flown about 25 feet, indicating a powerful blast.

"We are looking at the possibility that this was some sort of chemical reaction due to the manufacturing of drugs," Montgomery County Police Capt. Paul Starks said.

A member of the NIST security force suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the NIST representative said.

Federal law enforcement sources told News4 that pseudoephedrine, drain opener and a recipe for methamphetamine were found inside the lab, and that the NIST officer was found with burns to his hands and arms.

No arrests had been made as of Monday evening.

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