DeKalb apartment that housed meth lab deemed uninhabitable

DeKALB – The cleanup process for the apartment where DeKalb police said they found an active methamphetamine lab remains murky, but officials have allowed the tenant in the apartment downstairs to return to his home.

Police said they found a working meth lab Friday at 418 N. Eleventh St. after they knocked on the door as part of an ongoing investigation sparked by the meth lab discovered in October at Travel Inn in DeKalb.

The building was evacuated from about 1:30 to 6 p.m. Friday while local firefighters and the Illinois State Police Meth Response Team removed the lab without incident, authorities said.

Michael J. Dumiak, 30; Malgorzata M. Dutkowska, 25, and Jennifer Simpson, 32, were charged with aggravated participation in the production of methamphetamine, participation in the production of methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine manufacturing. Police said Dumiak and Dutkowska were living together in apartment No. 3 upstairs, while Simpson was living in apartment No. 1.

The three are due in court today. Dumiak’s bond was set at $500,000, while Dutkowska’s and Simpson’s bonds are $200,000 each.

David Johnson, who lives in the downstairs apartment, went to a friend’s house for a few hours while the scene was cleared. He said he returned about 11 p.m. Friday night and hasn’t had any interruptions to his regular routine since then.

“No, I’m not really concerned,” Johnson said of living in the building. “I asked if anything seeped into my apartment and they told me ‘no.’ I believe them.”

The apartment that housed the alleged meth lab was deemed uninhabitable and will remain that way until it is cleaned, although officials said they are not sure how long that process might take. Police believe the lab was not operated for long in the apartment, police Sgt. Steve Lekkas said.

DeKalb Public Works Director T.J. Moore said the property owner, Richard Burke of Genoa, is responsible for the cleanup. On Monday, Moore was not sure what city agency would be responsible for clearing the apartment to be inhabited again.

“We’re still investigating the process and will be in touch with the property owner,” Moore said.

Burke could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

The Illinois Department of Public Health suggests hiring an environmental cleanup company with expertise in hazardous material waste removal and cleanup before anyone enters the building without protective equipment. Building materials and furniture could have absorbed contaminants and continue to release chemicals, according to the agency.

Other than suggesting methods of cleanup, the state does not have a policy regarding sampling former meth labs or ensuring the cleanup is completed, Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold said. The state also does not have a policy requiring a property owner to notify potential tenants of a past meth lab if the property is being rented.

“The bottom line is the only time someone needs to disclose there is a meth lab is when it’s sold,” Arnold said.

Moore said he was not aware of any local ordinance requiring a property owner to disclose a former meth lab to a tenant.