One suspect has been charged in a suspected meth lab fire that consumed a mobile home in the Gray Summit area.
Eric P. Arenz Jr., 54, is charged in a felony complaint with one count of second-degree arson. He is being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond.
Arenz is alleged to have been involved in manufacturing methamphetamine when the fire broke out in a mobile in Pacific Summit Estates.
Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner, head of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit, said under Missouri law, a person can be charged with arson if a fire is caused by a clandestine lab.
Firefighters with Boles and Pacific fire companies battled the mobile home fire Monday, April 30. No one was injured in the blaze but the trailer was completely destroyed.
Witnesses said they saw a man and a woman run outside as smoke was issuing from the trailer shortly after 8 a.m. They got into separate cars and fled the scene, Grellner said.
After that the home erupted in flames.
The female suspect has been identified, but not charged yet, Grellner said.
Grellner said it appeared that the mobile home was being used exclusively to manufacture methamphetamine and other drug activity.
When narcotics investigators sifted through the ashes after the fire was extinguished they found evidence that “at least” 50 one-pot meth labs were being stored in the house, according to Grellner.
“The pressure of the water was literally pushing meth labs out through the walls,” Grellner remarked.
While searching through the rubble, officers also found hundreds of empty blister packs that previously contained cold and allergy pills, Grellner said.
“We ended up hauling away two truckloads of materials from the scene,” Grellner said.
A one-pot meth lab involves combining the first three steps of a conventional meth lab into a 2-liter plastic bottle. The process is volatile and can result in explosions and fires.
Pacific Summit Estates is located on Highway 100, just west of Robertsville Road, in the Gray Summit area.