Thirty-three residents of the Park Haven Home in Ashtabula were forced to find other nursing homes to stay in after a meth lab exploded and ignited a fire in their home on March 4. The fire started in a second story room and resulted in one fatality.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shaun Warrens, 31 of Ashtabula, was cooking the meth when the small time operation went awry. He and several others were taken to the hospital. Warrens eventually died.
So far, police and fire department officials have not released much information about the fire, saying it is still under investigation. It is believed, however, that Warrens and two other men were involved in cooking meth in what’s known as the one-pot or “shake and bake” method.
This method of cooking methamphetamines arose when the critical meth ingredient pseudoephedrine was restricted from purchase. Now, because you are only able to buy smaller amounts of the cold-medicine ingredient, a smaller batch of meth apparently makes more sense.
But despite the scaled-down operations, these smaller labs are still very dangerous, as seen in this latest fire.
“All we heard was he was in the room making meth and the jar burst pen in his lap and he ended up going up in flames,” said Gaylene Howser, who had been allowing Warrens to stay in her house. She acknowledged that Warrens had a meth problem and said she and others were trying to help him kick the habit.
“Just in the last six months we’ve seen a bunch of these explosions,” said Scotty Duff with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Though the federal government says meth lab seizures dropped dramatically in 2005 when the sale of pseudoephedrine became restricted, they are rising once again with the growing popularity of these mobile labs.
Smaller meth labs may only make enough of the drug for personal use. But the ingredients are few and the tools can fit inside a shopping bag. Over the last few years, such shake-and-bake labs have been found in a variety of unusual places, though this is the first known incident of it being made in a nursing home.
Meth laws are strict as officials want to keep accidents like this and crime related to meth at a minimum. This means if you are charged with meth possession or operating a meth lab, you can expect to face severe legal sanctions. Contact our offices today if you are accused of a meth crime. We can offer a free consultation.