Meth lab leads to house fire in Fair Grove

Posted: 31st January 2013 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Resident charged with arson


A Fair Grove man is facing arson charges after a methamphetamine lab exploded and set a building on fire.

Mitchell Lewis Penick is charged with second-degree arson, attempt to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.


A probable cause statement filed in the case says the Fair Grove Fire Department and Greene County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a fire in Fair Grove Jan. 20.

Fire crews arrived to find a small workshop fully engulfed in flames, with the fire spreading to a nearby home, according to Fire Chief Mark Raymond.

While in the home, firefighters discovered what they believed to be a methamphetamine lab, according to the statement.

Sgt. Jeff Ussery, of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in the statement that he could smell a chemical odor coming from the residence that he recognized as methamphetamine.

Law enforcement officers discovered a cooler in the home containing items commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, including matchbooks, glassware with a white residue, a reddish liquid believed to contain red phosphorus, funnels and stir sticks, according to the statement.

Officers also discovered a bottle with cloudy liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine. They were discovered in a room Penick later confirmed was his, according to the statement.

Raymond said the Greene County arson unit determined the cause of the fire was an explosion.

Ussery spoke to Penick’s brother at the scene. The brother said Penick told him to go to bed because he was going to “‘get rid’ of some of the methamphetamine chemicals,” according to the statement. He said the next thing he knew was that the workshop was on fire.

Penick later admitted knowledge of the lab in his room, but said the items were not his. He said he purchased pseudoephedrine to give to a methamphetamine manufacturer in exchange for methamphetamine, according to the statement.

Second-degree arson is a class C felony.

Penick is currently being held in the Greene County Jail, with a bond set at $15,000. He is scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 20, according to online court records.



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