Meth lab found near Cortland elementary school following late night explosion, police say

Cortland firefighters are seen removing items from a house at 86 Madison Street, where a reported explosion Monday night resulted in the discovery of a meth lab in the attic of the home (Photo: Peter Blanchard/Cortland Voice)

CORTLAND, N.Y. — A meth lab is believed to be the cause of an explosion in the attic of a home on Madison Street late Monday evening.

At around 11:30 p.m. Monday, the Cortland police and fire departments were called to a reported explosion in the attic of a home at 86 Madison Street, across the street from Parker Elementary School, according to Lt. David Guerrera with the Cortland Police Department.

The explosion resulted in a fire breaking out in the attic, though firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, Lt. Guerrera said.

At least two people were inside the residence at the time of the explosion, he said, and both fled the scene soon after the incident.

A male suspect was located a short time later and is being questioned by police and will likely face criminal charges. A female suspect was treated for minor burns at Cortland Regional Medical Center but left the hospital before police could question her, Lt. Guerrera said.

Cortland School District Superintendent Michael J. Hoose said he was informed of the incident shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. He left a message with parents stating that there would be traffic congestion on Madison Street due to ongoing cleanup efforts by the Cortland Fire Department and New York State Police.

Principal Joshua Bacigalupi held an early morning meeting with elementary school staff before students arrived at school, Hoose said. Staff members greeted students and parents as they arrived at the school to ensure their safety.

"It's disturbing anytime there's a meth lab in our community, but to have it so close to a school is especially disturbing," Hoose said.

Police said their investigation remains ongoing.

Here are more photos from the scene Tuesday morning: