Pair arrested in meth lab fire

Posted: 13th May 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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A soda bottle filled with methamphetamine ingredients exploded, started a fire and led to the arrest of two people Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, however, police still were looking for the person who allegedly mixed the volatile meth cocktail in the bathroom of a house at 530 N. Cliff Ave.

“This investigation is still ongoing,” police spokesman Sam Clemens said.

Melinda Kasdorf, 40, was outside the house at 4:30 p.m. when a police officer arrived in response to a fire call and saw smoke floating out the front door, Clemens said.

Firefighters who arrived moments later to douse a burning shower curtain inside saw pieces of a soda bottle and chemicals in the bathroom. Those items looked like components used to mix methamphetamine, police said.

“We believe that (explosion) was probably what started the fire,” Clemens said.

As a Sioux Falls Fire Rescue’s hazardous materials crew worked to clean up the toxic chemicals, Kasdorf’s 52-year-old husband, Michael Kasdorf, arrived on the scene, Clemens said.

They both were arrested on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, keeping a place for the sale or use of drugs, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The controlled substance charges are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The charge for keeping a place for the sale or use of drugs carries a maximum five-year penalty.

Officers found 1.4 grams of methamphetamine in the home, Clemens said.

Police do not think either Kasdorf is responsible for starting the fire, though.

At Melinda Kasdorf’s initial appearance in court Wednesday before Judge John Schlimgen, Minnehaha County Deputy State’s Attorney Don Hanson said she admitted to police that there were drugs in the house, that she’d done methamphetamine recently and that someone else had been there when the explosion took place.

“She agreed that someone had been cooking methamphetamine at the time the fire started,” Hanson said.

Schlimgen set her bond at $2,000.

When he appeared before the judge moments later, Hanson said Michael Kasdorf had pointed the finger at his sister.

Schlimgen set a $5,000 cash bond for him, although he might be returning to prison. He’d been convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2006 and given a five-year sentence. Two years of that conviction were suspended on the condition that he commit no drug offenses.

The fire was out in minutes, but methamphetamine chemicals floating through the air can be hazardous to the health of neighbors nearby, Clemens said.

The Kasdorf’s home sits within blocks of Whittier Park and Joe Foss Alternative School.

The fire department’s hazardous materials team uses caution during meth lab cleanups, regardless of the amount of chemicals present in the home, Division Chief Jim Sideras said.

Phosphorus, iodine, brake fluid or antifreeze all could be present in meth mixtures at various stages of completion.

“You just have no idea what you’ll be running into,” Sideras said.

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