Police were called to Devon Self Storage at 18830 Woodfield Rd. in Gaithersburg, Md., on Monday evening because of several suspicious-looking men spotted by a person driving by. The men were reportedly wearing protective clothing and moving unmarked barrels from a box truck into a unit.
Police visited the scene and called the fire department. It was discovered that the men in question are subcontractors for a government contractor, which manufactures a product with two by-products: an oil and sodium hydroxide, better known as caustic soda or lye, which is sometimes used by hotels and restaurants for cleaning purposes. The storage unit contained more than two dozen barrels of these substances.
Authorities said the substances are not a hazard as currently stored, but the Maryland Department of the Environment is investigating the lack of proper labels and placards on the barrels and the truck used to transport them.