Comments Off on Father, 54-year-old John William Merritt, in critical condition, daughter, 31-year-old Charley Renae Merritt, hurt in possible Beaufort Methamphetamine lab fire

BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY – Officials have identified a father and daughter who were burned and airlifted to Chapel Hill after a suspected meth lab fire in Beaufort Thursday morning.

According to a news release from the Town of Beaufort, 54-year-old John William Merritt and his daughter, 31-year-old Charley Renae Merritt, were injured in the fire at their home on the 300 block of Pine Street.john-merritt-charly-merritt

As of Thursday night, John Merritt was in critical condition at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, but Charley was not listed, a hospital official said.

The call of the blaze came in at 9:23 a.m. Thursday, said Assistant Fire Chief Richard Lovick.

After the fire, the father drove his daughter down the road to Beaufort Rescue Center and dropped her off, said Beaufort Police Chief Steven Lewis. The man then drove to another house on Tuttles Grove Road, where he left his car and called for help.

Neighbors said the man was naked because his clothes were burned off.

Charley Merritt told EMS workers she and her father were cooking meth, police said.

They were then airlifted to the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill. Their next of kin have been notified, officials said.

Lewis said investigators believe a meth lab most likely caused the blaze. A hazmat team from Cherry Point was at the scene assessing the situation, Lovick explained. A team with the State Bureau of Investigation was also called in to clean up the scene.

At last check, no charges had been filed. 


“I came outside and police just went by and came out running back towards there down that road and before that there was a big boom,” said neighbor Kayla Fillipic.

That sound coming from this home on Pine St. where police say a father daughter duo, were cooking meth when the chemicals caught fire.

Police say first caught wind of the fire when a call came in saying that a woman had been dropped off at a Beaufort rescue center with severe burns. That woman, 31-year-old Charly Renae Merritt, told EMS workers there that she her father had been cooking drugs in their home on Pine Street when the drugs caught on fire.

“EMS there treated her, our officers came here to the scene discovered that the house was on fire. There was smoke showing from the house and immediately the fire department responded,” said Beaufort Police Chief Steve Lewis.

Police got another call shortly after from a home nearly 7 miles down the road from the home, where Charly’s father, John William Merritt, had driven to in a white car before collapsing in the yard.

“Both of the received critical burns and were airlifted to Chapel Hill Medical Center,” said Lewis.

“Currently we have the SBI here with their hazmat team and they’re going thru collecting evidence, making sure the scene is safe and all the disposal of the chemicals will be done by the SBI,” said Lewis.

Those chemicals are what is making neighbors nervous.

“We babysit kids over there and there’s a lot of kids in this development, like right at my back door,” said Filipcic.




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