Five arrested following meth lab fire Friday evening in Defiance


Five people were arrested Friday after officials responded to a fire at a Defiance residence where a meth lab was discovered.

Zachary Hancock, 23, 11064 Kepler Road; Justin Mann, 19, Fremont; and Alissa Andrews, 28, Brandi Hale, 23, and Kurtis Puckett, 26, all of 10621⁄2 Holgate Ave., all have been charged with illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony.

According to Doug Engel, director of the Multi-Area Narcotics Task Force (MAN Unit), the charges stem from a meth lab that was discovered at 10621⁄2 Holgate Ave., when officers with the Defiance Police Department were called to the address for a disturbance complaint Friday at approximately 9:25 p.m. Officers discovered smoldering carpet in an upstairs apartment that Engel said resulted from a vessel failure during the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

The Defiance Fire Department was called to extinguish the fire.

According to Engel, one person was treated at ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital for chemical burns before being released and transported to the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, rural Stryker. He declined to release the victim's name. Defiance Assistant Fire Chief Tim Bowling said the fire caused minor damage to an upstairs residence. A damage estimate was unavailable. He said occupants of the downstairs residence were able to remain in the home following the fire.

The five suspects were being held at CCNO, and had video arraignments this morning in Defiance Municipal Court. Bond was set at $150,000 for each and their hearings were continued until 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The Defiance County prosecutor's office will review the cases for presentation to a Defiance County grand jury, according to Engel.

He said people need to be aware of the significant dangers involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

"Anyone that smells a strong ammonia odor and a chemical smell -- they need to report that to their local law enforcement agency," Engel said.

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  • Finally!! I did a little research, the "safest way" I could come up with. I searched what a meth lab smelled like. Here's what I found, and yep ... the third one down is exactly what we smelled the afternoon we walked by that residence (before the "explosion") ... if I'd only known then ... Smells like a hospital due to the common use of ethyl ether as an anesthetic. Nasal irritant. Ether-like: Aromatic, sweet odor often accompanied by a sweet taste. Smells like paint thinners, paint removers, adhesives, and cleaning fluids. Type of odor often found in auto body shops or furniture refinishing shops. Eye and nasal irritant. Smells like odor found in vinegar, mayonnaise, salad dressings or pickled food. Pungent, acrid, or sour smell. Eye irritant. Smells like wet diapers, glass cleaners, cattle feed-lots, or fertilizers. A sharp, irritating odor. Eye and nasal irritant. Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals). Note: Meth lab homes that have been allowed to air out for some time may not have any detectable odors. The absence of odor in a home does not mean the home is not contaminated. THANK YOU DOUG ENGEL for bringing some educational aspects to this!!