Meth lab explosion leads to dangerous field fire

HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - Authorities in Williamson County are investigating a field fire that came dangerously close to a Herrin neighborhood.  Police say a meth lab explosion started the fire.

Robyn Brummett says she was walking her dog Sunday evening when she suddenly heard a loud boom.

"Looked over and there was a fire ball from the ground up," Brummett said.

Herrin firefighters quickly rushed to put out the field fire, headed toward several homes. But police say by the light of day, an off duty Williamson County deputy who lives nearby, went to look at where the fire started and found meth lab materials.  That came as a shock to Brummett.

"That's scary, that's really scary," Brummett said.

Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Daryl Grammer runs a meth response team. He says in the last year they've been called to more than 20 fires due to meth labs.

"Some in hotels, some out in fields, but most of the time it's in a house," Grammer said.

In the past, it took several steps to make meth.  Grammer says now all the ingredients are put into one container, known as the shake and bake method.

"It's increasingly much more volatile because you've got flammable metals in with flammable solids and liquids and the presently for an explosion, if it's not done exactly right or air is introduced incorrectly, you end up with an explosion.

Police say that's what happened on a gravel road near Brummett's neighborhood. But by the time officers arrived Monday, only pieces of a bottle and some pills remained.

Still Brummett says she plans to change her evening routine.

"I probably will not be walking my dogs at night any more, that is really scary," Brummett said.

Herrin Police say they do have a suspect in this case.

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