One 'person of interest' in suspicious Dubuque apartment fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

One 'person of interest' in suspicious Dubuque apartment fire

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A meth lab may have been the explosion of an early morning apartment fire in Dubuque.

It happened in the 1000 block of White Street, shortly before 2:45 a.m.

Crews responded to the apartment building on White Street that houses addresses 1055, 1055½, 1069, 1071 and 1073. All but 1069 were occupied at the time, according to police.

"The cause is a little suspicious," Dubuque Drug Task Force director Gary Pape said.

He said the fire originated in 1071 and a meth lab may have been the cause, though investigators are still following leads before making a definite determination.

"We're looking for anything that's commonly found in meth labs, like solvents, anything used, any ingredients, any precursors," Pape said late Thursday morning, right before Drug Task Force investigators entered the building.

He said the occupant of 1071 was John Starks Sr., 45, who went to Unity Point Health-Finley Hospital in Dubuque with burn injuries and was then transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Pape said Starks is the DDTF's only official person of interest, as of Thursday afternoon, though investigators are tracking down one other person.

Police say smoke, fire and water damage has made the entire building uninhabitable.

The American Red Cross of the Tri-States responded to the fire and is helping four displaced families. Anybody wishing to donate supplies or money to these families may drop items off at the Hampton Inn, in Dubuque.

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