LaGrange Police: Motel fire sparked by meth lab

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LaGrange police officer Garrett Pressley ropes off a crime scene Thursday at the the Super 8 Motel at 29 Patillo Road in LaGrange. Police believe a 29-year-old Coffee County man was making methamphetamine in a second-story room there when the concoction exploded and started a fire.

A fire Thursday at a motel off Lafayette Parkway was caused by an exploding methamphetamine lab, police alleged Tuesday.

Detectives believe the fire started inside a second story room at the Super 8 Motel at 29 Patillo Road when Patrick M. Anderson, 29, of Coffee County, was allegedly mixing chemicals to make meth, according to a press release from LaGrange police.

A 31-year-old Lanier County woman was injured in the blast and fled the motel with Anderson, police said.

The woman later went to a south Georgia hospital where she was treated with second degree burns, according to Jeremey Jones, a senior detective with LaGrange police.

Warrants have been issued charging Anderson with criminal damage to property in the second degree, and manufacturing methamphetamine warrants could come as the investigation progresses, Jones said.

Police have contacted Anderson, who was at large at press time, and informed him he is wanted by police. Jones said Anderson was going to turn himself in Tuesday evening.

Jones said he was unable to name an exact location where the fire started due to the ongoing investigation, and said the area of the motel room where the fire began was not conducive to an electrical fire. Sgt. William Nelson of the LaGrange police Criminal Investigation Section told the Daily News on Friday that officers collected samples from the area, which have been sent to a crime lab for testing.

A LaGrange firefighter, who spoke on conditions of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details, said police were called because of what was found inside the motel room, although he would not elaborate further. Another firefighter said he observed a hole in a wall inside the motel room.

During the emergency response, LaGrange police officers blocked Patillo Road as fire crew pulled hoses across the two-lane road, stopping traffic there for at least 30 minutes.

Several fire engines responded to the scene, including LaGrange Fire Department’s only — and newly commissioned — ladder truck.

Uniformed police roped off the area Thursday with crime scene tape and offered little explanation for the fire as several bystanders watched firefighters maneuver hoses.

Jones asks witnesses, or anyone with information, to contact LaGrange police’s criminal investigations section at 706-883-2603. Tips may be submitted anonymously through Troup County Crime Stoppers at 706-812-1000 or by text to 888-777.