911 calls in West Palm Beach Georgia Avenue warehouse explosion, fire released

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The 911 calls made after a powerful explosion Monday night at a West Palm Beach warehouse have been released.

Local and federal investigators are looking into what caused the blast at the warehouse on Georgia Avenue, and if there was illegal drug manufacturing going on inside.

First a man is on the phone.

"Does it sound like there was a gun fired," the dispatcher asks the man. 

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's like fire," the male caller said.

After confusion sets in, a woman gets on the phone.

In the audio, the woman who lives nearby resident is heard screaming, telling dispatchers to hurry because children are nearby. The woman also fears there are people in the building.

The explosion blew the doors and windows off of the warehouse.

"There's a lot of fire and smoke and you need to hurry up because there's kids in the street," the woman on the phone said.

Acetone is one highly combustible chemicals local and federal investigators say may have been inside. 

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents said it is often used to manufacture synthetic marijuana. 

"We've come across instances where they are mixing the chemicals and it's actually a controlled substance that they are selling," said DEA Agent John McKenna.

There is no confirmation yet that something illegal taking place inside the warehouse.

The dispatcher asked the woman if she saw black smoke.

"There's a lot of smoke," she answered. "Oh my God. Oh my God. You need to leave!"

Lantana police officer Nelson Berrios is not part of this investigation but has, for years, been on a quest to shut down synthetic marijuana shops. 

"You don't know where these labs are," said Officer Berrios. "They can be in somebody's garage. We don't know."

Berrios said synthetic drug manufacturers often change the ingredients of their products to stay in business.

"Just as soon as we change legislation to meet the product that is out there, they've already decided to change it to make it legal again," he said.

The ground outside the warehouse is still littered with hundreds of empty packets marked for sale as incense not for human consumption. Many questions being asked by investigators and by homeowners like Hudson.

The caller couldn't figure out what the business was.

Police are still trying to locate the owner of the business at the center of this investigation to hopefully answer some of those questions.

The blast made the building unstable so DEA investigators will have to wait until some of it is torn down before continuing testing inside.




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