Discovery of meth lab leads to partial evacuation at Arlington high-rise, police say

Dozens of residents of a high-rise apartment house in North Arlington were ordered out of the building shortly before midnight Monday after police discovered what they thought was an illicit laboratory for producing methamphetamine.

Police said Leonard Fischer, 44, and William Hudgens, 31, both of Arlington County, were arrested and charged with attempting to manufacture the drug in an apartment in the building, in the 800 block of North Monroe Street.

Police said officers went to the address, near the Virginia Square Metrorail station, to investigate the report of a dispute. After they arrived, the officers “noticed items that were consistent with” the manufacture of methamphetamine, police said.

How to spot a meth lab — and what to do if you find one.

Police said they evacuated residents of three floors about 11:30 p.m. out of concern for their safety.

“The police were going door-to-door and knocking to get us up and out,” said Robin Rothrock, a resident of the third floor. “They gave us five minutes.”

Rothrock said the county arranged for some residents to stay at a community center. She went to a hotel. By Tuesday morning, she said, everything at the building seemed back to normal.

Rothrock called the incident extremely unusual. “It’s a wonderful building,” she said. “We love living here.”

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