Number of quarantined meth homes causes problems

Number of quarantined meth homes causes problems for Campbell County

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This home on Cedar Circle in Jacksboro was quarantined in early 2011. This home on Cedar Circle in Jacksboro was quarantined in early 2011.
"People will ask all the time, you got a meth house next door to you right?" said a neighbor, Vanessa Irwin. "People will ask all the time, you got a meth house next door to you right?" said a neighbor, Vanessa Irwin.
"The process of cleaning falls back on the homeowner," explained Campbell County Sheriff Capt. Brandon Elkins. "The process of cleaning falls back on the homeowner," explained Campbell County Sheriff Capt. Brandon Elkins.
County officials cannot force property owners to clean up their homes. County officials cannot force property owners to clean up their homes.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

JACKSBORO (WATE) - Law enforcement officers in Campbell County have been working hard to crack down on meth, but all that hard work is causing another problem.

For years, Campbell County has topped the list for the most meth busts in the state, but so many arrests means an increase in the number of quarantined homes.

Many are not being cleaned up quickly enough.

It was only recently when Campbell County sheriff's deputies started to count the number of homes they had quarantined. The number was shocking even to them. They counted 190 quarantined homes.

The challenge for authorities now is to get the properties cleaned up.

A home on Cedar Circle in Jacksboro was quarantined in 2011 after the homeowners were discovered cooking meth inside. Since that time the house has sat empty, causing major headaches for neighbors.

"People will ask all the time, you got a meth house next door to you right?" said a neighbor, Vanessa Irwin.

"In a county of 40,000 people, to have 190 homes that are quarantined, it's a shocking number most definitely," said Campbell County Sheriff Capt. Brandon Elkins.

"We would like to see it cleaned up and for our property value to go back up," said Irwin.

Many people are wondering who is responsible to pay for the homes to be cleaned up.

"The process of cleaning falls back on the homeowner," explained Elkins.

Elkins says county officials cannot force property owners to clean up their homes. He says there is a specific process they must follow.

"They're responsible for hiring a state certified hygienist to test the house in quarantine," said Elkins. "Once that happens they hire a state contractor, that's contracted and certified, to clean up a methamphetamine quarantined house."

Elkins says the whole process can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000.

One of the most difficult aspects of the empty home is keeping people from occupying them until they're cleaned up. Authorities advise residents to call 911 if they see anyone returning to a contaminated property.

Irwin says she hopes the home next to her will be cleaned up soon. She still has worries about what is inside.

"The chemicals," said Irwin. "I have a three-year-old grandson that plays outside. I won't let him over there."

Elkins says many of the homes in the county have been quarantined for years.

Elkins says the amount of time to clean up a quarantined home varies. He has seen some cleaned up in a week, while others took months. It just depends how much meth was cooked inside. 

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