Ohio fire chief blames fatal nursing home fire on secret meth lab

Fire that killed 1, injured several others was caused by 'clandestine methamphetamine laboratory'

By Maggie Schneider

ASHTABULA, Ohio — A nursing home fire that killed one person and injured several others in Ohio was caused by "a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory" in one of the facility's rooms, a fire official said Monday.

Ashtabula, Ohio, Fire Department Chief Ron Pristera made the statement in a news release Monday, hours after a Sunday-night blaze hit the Park Haven Home in the town some 60 miles northeast of Cleveland.

Pristera's statement did not elaborate on what led to the conclusion that a meth lab was the cause of the fire, but photos distributed by the fire department showed scorched walls and a blackened table with remnants of an unidentified object on it.

The identity of the person who died was not released. The fire department's statement said that five victims were taken to a local medical center after the blaze, and one person died Monday morning after being transferred to the burn unit at another local medical facility. Two people were treated at the scene, the statement said.

Five engine companies, one ladder company, 26 firefighters and eight emergency medical personnel were involved in fighting the fire and caring for the nursing home's residents and staff, the fire department said.

The case is being investigated by the Ashtabula Police Department and the towns' fire prevention bureau, the fire department statement said.

A person who answered the phone at the nursing home Monday when a CNN reporter called said, "No comment," and hung up.

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