Dubuque sees tenth meth-related fire in 16 months - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque sees tenth meth-related fire in 16 months

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Dubuque law enforcement officials are investigating the city's tenth methamphetamine-related structure fire since February of 2012.

Dubuque fire and police officials responded around 11:45 Thursday night to a house fire at 2613 Central Avenue. An investigation led them to suspect a meth lab caused the fire.

Two people were home at the time. They are 46-year-old Cory Cole and 90-year-old Virginia Allison. No serious injuries were reported.

While officials say meth is prevalent in Dubuque, it's not the drug itself that's on the rise. It's the increasingly popular "one pot," "one bottle" or "shake and bake" method that's leading to these fires. Eight of those 10 meth-related fires came from labs using this technique.

Fire chief Dan Brown said he owes the increase in meth-related fires to that "one bottle" meth production technique.

"We've had fires from every type of method that they've used, but the method they're using now, the 'one-pot' or the 'one-bottle,' where they're doing it in, like, the small plastic pop bottle type container, seems to be a little more volatile," he said, "where you have some of the things that are being mixed there that can have a self-ignition."

Dubuque police spokesperson Lt. Scott Baxter said the Dubuque Drug Task Force investigated a total of 22 meth labs and 33 dump sites in 2012.

"People that are making or attempting to make the methamphetamine have little if any chemistry experience in their lives and probably don't fully appreciate the dangerous nature of this activity," he said.

Discarded and dangerous meth-making materials, he said, are often on the side of a road and can include two-liter pop bottles.

"If you have any doubt as to what it is you're about to pick up or approach, we don't want you to approach it or touch it or get near it. Call us," he said.

As of Friday afternoon Dubuque County prosecutors had not yet filed any charges related to the Thursday night fire, but Baxter said he expects to see charges soon.

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