This is the blog site for the Ozark Watchful EYE which is the Greene County chapter of the Missouri Liberty Coalition. Mo.Li.Co. is a taxpayer advocacy group with the intent of local advocacy to help the citizenry in all counties of MO.
No extreme hazards found in basement workshop that alarmed authorities
By Priyanka Dayal TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
MARLBORO— Victor Deeb, the retired chemist who stored hundreds of chemicals in his house, was allowed to return home yesterday after authorities spent three days dismantling his basement laboratory.
None of the materials found at 81 Fremont St. posed a radiological or biological risk, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. No mercury or poison was found. Some of the compounds are potentially explosive, but no more dangerous than typical household cleaning products.
All potentially hazardous materials were removed from the house, which the Deebs have owned since 1988. A cleanup company, contracted by DEP, is continuing to test the chemicals in a lab.
“Ultimately, they will be disposed of,” said DEP spokesman Joseph M. Ferson, who said the city’s Department of Public Works is making sure nothing seeped into the sewer lines.
Mr. Deeb declined to comment yesterday. Authorities say he has patents pending and had been using his basement as a science lab to conduct experiments, possibly for many years.
Firefighters found more than 1,500 vials, jars, cans, bottles and boxes in the basement Tuesday afternoon, after they responded to an unrelated fire in an air conditioner on the second floor of the home.
Vessels of chemicals were all over the furniture and the floor, authorities said. The ensuing investigation involved a state hazardous materials team, fire and police officials, health officials, environmental officials and code enforcement officials. The Deebs were told to stay in a hotel while the slew of officials investigated and emptied the basement.
Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.
“It is a residential home in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “This is Mr. Deeb’s hobby. He’s still got bunches of ideas. I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation. … There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.”
Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.
“He’s been very cooperative,” Ms. Wilderman said. “I won’t be citing him for anything right at this moment.”