Meth lab explosion investigated

Posted September 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

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An explosion that “sounded like a bomb,” according to a neighbor, caused an isolated structure fire in the T-n-T Apartments, 320 E. Third St., on Thursday, Sept. 20.

The explosion and subsequent fire are believed to have been caused by items used to manufacture methamphetamines, according to a press release from Chief of Police Britt Smith.

The explosion took place about 4 p.m. in Apartment 4, the apartment farthest from the street in the four-unit building. Tenants of the first three apartments were evacuated.

Injured in the explosion was Brandon William Gaul, who was taken by family to Jones Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 21. Gaul was in critical condition as he was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Gaul, who was not a tenant of the apartment, “fled the scene prior to the arrival of emergency personnel,” the report said.

Firefighters made entry into the apartment and quickly extinguished the flames.

“During the investigation,” the report continued, “officers discovered items consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamines, which was believed to be the cause of the fire. Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s office responded to the scene and assisted in the investigation.”

“The investigation is still pending with charges to be filed upon (Gaul’s) release from the hospital.”

No other injuries were reported. The tenant of the apartment was not home at the time of the incident.

“No damage was reported to the adjoining apartments, and all tenants were allowed to return to their apartments at the completion of the hazardous materials cleanup,” the report said.

The Monticello Fire Department, Monticello Police Department and Monticello Ambulance Department were all at the scene.

The Monticello Fire Department responded to a call of an explosion in the T-n-T Apartments on East Third Street, Thursday, Sept. 20. (Photo by Pete Temple)