Suspected meth lab causes house fire and explosions

While investigations are still ongoing, first responders to the scene of this house fire believe the blaze started in the master bedroom.

While investigations are still ongoing, first responders to the scene of this house fire believe the blaze started in the master bedroom.

By Amy Patterson
Bowling Green Times

Materials used to make methamphetamine appear to be the cause of a fire and explosion that destroyed a home last Wednesday morning. Shortly before 5:30 a.m., a house in north Curryville caught fire. Three subsequent explosions were confirmed by reporting officers. According to Pike County Sheriff Stephen Korte, between 5:33 a.m. and 5:39 a.m. the morning of Aug. 7, the Sheriff’s Office received 12 separate 911 calls for the house fire, with callers also reporting hearing multiple explosions.
As a result of these calls, the Curryville Fire Department, with mutual aid requested from Bowling Green Fire Department, was dispatched to the home, located at 308 West Maple St. in the small town west of Bowling Green.
Korte reports that Sheriff’s Deputies, as well as a Pike County Hospital ambulance also responded to the scene.
The house was occupied by two individuals, Samantha Wilson and Joe Moss, at the time of the fire.  Moss was transported from the scene by Pike County Ambulance to University Hospital in Columbia. He was then transferred to a St. Louis hospital burn unit where he remains in critical condition.
Wilson was transported from the scene by Van-Far Ambulance to Pike County Hospital.
The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s office was contacted and responded to assist in the investigation. A Marshal arrived at the scene Wednesday morning and gathered evidence for a few hours before leaving.
Further investigation prompted calls for additional assistance  to the Eolia Fire Protection District, with specialized hazardous material equipment, and an Officer with the East Central Drug Taskforce.  Off-duty deputies certified in hazardous materials were also called in.
Curryville Fire Department Chief Colton Marti explained last week that the Fire Marshal’s investigation as to the cause of the fire and explosions is ongoing, although discoveries have been made since. Korte explained a timeline for results of the formal investigation and lab studies are currently unavailable
The Pike County Sheriff explained  a multitude of products needed in the fraudulent manufacturing process of methamphetamine were located in area of the source of the fire.
“Additional items for the manufacture of methamphetamine were located on the property,” said Korte, in a formal release. “The preliminary cause of the fire is being listed as clandestine methamphetamine production.”
Witnesses to the incident report hearing three separate explosions coming from the house.  One of these explosions has been attributed to a propane tank discovered by officials near the source of the blaze.
“The tank was ruptured in a manner consistent with an explosion,” Korte explained.
The investigation is still open and ongoing. No formal charges had been filed as of press time.

Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:08 am