CANYON COUNTRY — A U-Haul employee was hospitalized Friday after passing out from fumes caused by what may have been a mobile drug lab in an abandoned rental truck, authorities said.
The truck was found abandoned Thursday at a truck stop in Castaic, said Lt. Steve Dolan of the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station. It was towed to a U-Haul facility in Canyon Country, where an employee was assigned to clean it out Friday morning.
Inside the back of the truck were three 55-gallon plastic drums and two five-gallon drums emitting fumes, Dolan said.
"When the employee got in the back to clean out the truck, he was overcome by them," he added.
Robert DeStefano, 23, was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia, said Lt. Al Frisch, a narcotics investigator for the Sheriff's Department. DeStefano is expected to fully recover from the effects of the chemicals.
The plastic drums in the truck contained residuals of sodium cyanide, ether and hydrochloric acid, Dolan said.
"Those are most often used in the manufacture of methamphetamine," he said.
Sheriff's narcotics investigators were still trying to determine Friday night who rented the truck, Dolan said.
U-Haul employees declined to comment about the incident.