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Officer hurt after finding meth lab in squad car

There’s a list of things you’d probably never expect to find in the back seat of your car.

If you’re a police officer, a mobile methamphetamine lab might be near the top.

But that’s what a Syracuse police officer found Saturday, when he quickly removed a nylon bag of what was supposed to be clothes from his squad car after noticing a peculiar smell.

Fortunately for the squad car – and the officer – he discovered the source of the scent moments before the bag exploded into flames.

So, how did it get there?

Syracuse police responded about 8:30 p.m. to a call about a domestic disturbance in the 900 block of South Hansing Street, Syracuse Police Chief Tony Ciriello said Wednesday.

As the officer approached the house, he happened upon Allen Holden, 42, who had packed a bag of “clothing” and was walking out the door. The officer quickly detained Holden and his nylon bag of what he believed to be clothes, placing both in the back seat of his squad car as he walked into the home to speak with a woman about the call.

The woman told the officer Holden had beaten her in front of a child and then had packed a bag and said he was leaving.

The officer took Holden to the Kosciusko County Jail on charges of domestic battery.

After booking him into the jail, the officer returned to his squad car in the jail’s intake area and noticed a strange chemical odor.

Thinking it was coming from the jail’s intake bay, he pulled out, but the odor worsened.

Suddenly, his back seat started to fill with smoke, and the officer put his car in park and ran to the back seat where he found Holden’s bag.

The officer pulled the bag from the car and it burst into flames.

Inside was a mobile meth lab – at least what was left of one.

The officer, taken aback by his discovery and the fumes billowing from the bag, was taken to Kosciusko Community Hospital where he was treated and released for inhalation of sulfuric acid and gas.

Police returned to the Hansing Street address and discovered several other meth-making items.

Holden was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail on charges of domestic battery and manufacturing methamphetamine, Ciriello said.