Fatal fire linked to meth lab

Posted: 12th May 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized

Authorities confirmed Wednesday that a Sunday cabin fire that killed an Elmira woman in Baldwin was the site of a methamphetamine lab.

State police investigators remain tight-lipped about their probe into the early morning fire that claimed the life of 20-year-old Kanisha Wood.

Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore, who visited the fire scene Tuesday, said the blaze was probably caused by something that went wrong during the manufacture of meth.

“We did receive information that methamphetamine was being manufactured up there, and that during the process is what started the fire,” Wetmore said.

“I was up there with my chief assistant John Thweatt Tuesday with the New York State Police as well as the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

“Their on-site inspection confirmed the information that we received that meth was being cooked up there, and was likely the source of this unfortunate fatal fire,” Wetmore said.

The cabin was located in a remote area on Lockwood Run Road and was behind a locked gate, out of sight from the road.

Wetmore doesn’t know who called 911 to report the fire.

The cabin was already engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, and nobody was around.

Officials learned later that someone transported Wood by private vehicle to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre and left her there.

She was later transferred to Lehigh Valley Burn Center, where she died around 9 p.m. Sunday, with family members at her side.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no suspects were under arrest, authorities said.

There is still a lot of information that needs to be processed, Wetmore said.

“Where do we go from here? The investigation continues by New York State Police and at some point they will bring down all the materials for us to review them at the district attorney’s office,” he said.

“The manufacture of meth is illegal and various ingredients that go into it give off odors and signs that neighbors might see. To do it in a clandestine spot appears to be the operating procedure of these people.”

It appears Wood fell in with the wrong crowd, said her aunt, Laura Kelly of Elmira, who was among the family members who traveled to Allentown to be with her when she died.

If there is anything positive to come out of the tragedy, it will be if other young people who are using or making meth think twice about the consequences, Kelly said.

“I hope that other kids see this, if they are using (meth), they get a lesson learned here,” she said. “It’s just not the way to go.”

http://www.stargazette.com/article/20110511/NEWS01/105110372/Chemung-DA-Fatal-fire-linked-meth-lab?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE