What began as a meth-cooking operation at an abandoned trailer at Spring Fork on Beech Creek last week ultimately resulted in an explosion and fire that left three firefighters slightly injured, police said.
According to the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, the explosion and subsequent fire occurred Friday afternoon at around 2:30 when an unknown person or persons were inside the residence operating a “shake and bake” meth lab operation.
MCSD Deputy Jeremy Casey said the chemicals being used to manufacture the meth caught fire and ultimately exploded after the burning concoction had been tossed inside a refrigerator to douse the flames, the investigation concluded.
Casey, who along with Sgt. Norman Mines and Cpl. Roger Fitch, responded, said Friday’s incident didn’t appear to be the first time the house had been used for the purpose of manufacturing meth.
Nor, he added, did it appear that only one or two individuals over a long period of time had been using the trailer as a meth-making location.
“This was strictly a meth house that was apparently being used by a lot of people because it was unoccupied with no power connected to it,” Casey said this week. “It also appeared as if it a number of individuals were using it for this purpose.
“Due to it also not having running water, there was a place out from the house where it was pretty obvious that more than just one or two people were using as a bathroom.”
Casey said the owner of the house, Walt Cline, was at the mouth of the hollow at the time and was informed by a passerby that the house was on fire.
By the time he and the other officers arrived on the scene, Casey said, the Wharncliffe Volunteer Fire Department had pretty much extinguished the fire.
It was while in the process of fighting the fire, he added, that the three firefighters suffered skin burns and lung irritation from possible fumes having been created by the exploding and burning chemicals, requiring all three to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Casey said there were no other reported injuries.
Anyone having information is asked to call the MCSD at, (304) 235-0300.