CLOVER — A meth lab explosion near Clover late Wednesday led to two arrests, chemical burns and a call to the hazmat team and drug unit.
Authorities arrested two Gastonia, N.C., men after the contents of a lab exploded, quickly engulfing a mobile home on Shannon Meadows Road where police temporarily blocked off traffic.
There have been 11 meth lab busts in York County this year, with about half a dozen of those incidents involving a fire or explosion, authorities say.
On Wednesday, a witness reported hearing three loud pops before the roof of the house caught fire. Two men were seen fleeing from the house, according to a York County Sheriff's Office report.
Another witness who called 911 also reported hearing an explosion and seeing two men in the yard at the time of the fire.
Casey Stiles, 36, and Doyle Dailey, 51, were arrested and booked at the Moss Justice Center in York. Charges are pending. The homeowner, who was allowing the men to use the house, has not been charged.
Lt. Mike Ligon, supervisor for York Countys Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit, called the gutted home a total loss.
Its pretty much come close to burning down to the ground, Ligon said.
While responding to the fire, investigators spotted the two men lying down on a nearby road. When officers approached them, they found severe burns on one of the mans hands.
According to the report, Dailey initially gave police a false name because he has been in prison previously. He was transported to the hospital for his chemical burns but has since been released.
Theyre just lucky cause those explosions are so volatile and so hot, it could easily kill them, said Marvin Brown, commander of the drug unit.
Brown said the upside of meth lab explosions is that the fire usually burns up most of the volatile chemicals.
In cases where meth labs are discovered before an explosion, investigators must be careful not to trigger or set off potential fires, Brown said.
Ligon said that evidence recovered from the scene suggests that the men had a crude setup that used plastic bottles to house the chemicals in a process referred to as shake and bake. Meth can be produced using a variety of household chemicals and items.
When police drove Stiles back to the scene from the hospital, he told investigators he was getting Dailey a soda when he saw the fire and tried to put it out, according to the report.
Stiles handed over an Altoids tin containing several ephedrine pills that he emptied from his pockets and told police he found near the fire, the report states.
Brown said that in most meth-related explosions, the injuries are usually to those cooking the drugs who are nearest to the chemicals.
Wednesday nights incident is part of an uptick in meth labs discovered in the county. Previous years had been capped at 10 busts annually.
Were at 11 labs here in September and we havent finished the year yet, Ligon said. Its continuing to get worse and worse.
The Herald's news partner, WSOC-TV, contributed