The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 28, 2013

Charges pending in Conneaut house fire

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — No charges were filed Wednesday in connection with a Conneaut house fire that revealed several methamphetamine-making operations, officials said.

Police Chief Charles Burlingham said his officers were completing their work on the meth end of the blaze at 99 Marshall St. Charges could be forthcoming soon, he said.

Meanwhile, technicians from the state fire marshal's office are continuing their examination, said Conneaut Fire Chief Steve Lee. No cause for the fire has been announced, he said.

"Everything's still in the works," he said Wednesday.

The state could file arson charges against two men police believe were operating the labs. Meth operations are extremely combustible and volatile, creating a safety risk for police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel dispatched to the scene, officials have said. Two firefighters were injured at the scene, one suffering a fractured arm, officials said.

No report from the state had arrived at the law director's office by mid-afternoon Wednesday, said Carly Prather, assistant law director.

The fire occurred in a second-floor bedroom of the two-story frame house on Tuesday morning. Two men, ages 25 and 26, were in the house at the time, along with an elderly woman believed to be the grandmother of the older man. The men suffered burns, while the woman escaped injury, according to reports.

Police apprehended the men about a block away from the burning house on charges unrelated to the fire, police said. They remain in city jail.