Meth lab causes fire in Niles Township
Published 9:18 am Thursday, November 5, 2015
It is not often that Gary Brovold comes across a meth lab in his duties as chief of the Niles Charter Township Fire Department.
“I can only think of a few times of it being in Niles Township,” said the longtime fire chief.
But that is what happened early Wednesday morning when firefighters were dispatched to 1923 S. Third St. in response to an attic fire shortly after 2 a.m.
Brovold said the fire, which was limited to the attic area, was extinguished quickly.
After noticing some suspicious objects, Brovold said he contacted a state fire investigator with the Michigan State Police.
Brovold said the investigator ruled the fire was accidental due to the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine.
“We tried to limit what we disturbed in there so that law enforcement agencies could conduct their investigation,” he said, adding that firefighters were wearing full protective equipment, limiting their exposure to any potentially dangerous components often found in meth manufacturing.
Lt. James Zehm, of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, said Wednesday afternoon that the person or persons at home at the time of the fire fled before authorities arrived.
No arrests have been made, he said, and the investigation is ongoing.
The home is located just south of the intersection of Bell Road and South Third Street, a short walking distance from South Fireman’s Park, the Niles Township Fire Station and the Brandywine Innovation Academy.
Assisting at the scene was Niles City Fire, Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service, Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police.