SPRINGDALE (KDKA) — Authorities surrounded a home in Springdale overnight after receiving a report that there were chemicals inside the residence.

The Allegheny County Bomb Squad, ATF agents, state police along with other local police departments arrived on Lincoln Avenue around 1 a.m. As a precaution, officials used Hazmat suits to enter the home.

The man who lived there was detained for a time, but not arrested. He was later released.

According to the homeowner, his girlfriend apparently called authorities to report the chemicals after the couple had a disagreement.

“I got into a fight with my girlfriend, and we were sitting out here and she called the police and said I had all kinds of dangerous chemicals in the house,” said Jim Gibbs, the homeowner.

Gibbs spent the early morning hours in the backseat of a police cruiser as officials walked through his two-story home.

“They were just wearing entry suits and chemical suits and self-contained breathing apparatus just in case there was something inside that was hazardous to their health,” said Chief Kevin Wilhelm, of the Springdale Fire Department.

“Some silver nitrate,” said Gibbs. “The most I have is about three and a half pounds of ammonium nitrate, which would probably blow up this house and this house.”

By morning, officials were gone after determining the chemicals – in their present form – are harmless; however, Gibbs’ home was condemned.

He’ll be living in a blue home behind the doomed structure for now.

People living in the area say Gibbs – a mechanical, electrical and chemical engineer – is a good neighbor.

“He’s a chemist so I understand why he had chemicals in the house,” said Tatiana Thomas, a neighbor. “It’s always been like that; he comes over and shows us cool stuff with it. He’s really cool.”

“I’m no threat; they all know me,” added Gibbs. “I’ve lived here for 58 years and have never done nothing.”

Gibbs will not face any criminal counts. As for the chemicals, Gibbs has been told that they are in a condemned structure and will have to be removed.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
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