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By BOB WHITE
UPTON — An apartment exploded and burned beyond repair Sunday morning after what authorities believe was an error in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
The six-unit Murrieltown Road apartment building was a complete loss and the suspected cook, Hart County native William Rucker, was seriously burned in the explosion and fire which devoured the one-story structure around 2 a.m.
No other tenant of the four occupied units was injured by the blast or blaze. Tenants of two units were not home when the explosion occurred.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Charles Sparks found what he considered remnants of a meth lab after arriving around 4:30 a.m.
“This stuff wasn’t just found under the sink,” Sparks said. “Not too many people have these items next to their bed.”
Agents with the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force were called to investigate the fire scene.
Along with felony charges relating to cooking the illegal stimulant, Rucker also could face multiple charges for endangering the lives of neighbors.
Rucker, 45, was flown to the burn unit at University Hospital in Louisville where he was listed in fair condition Sunday afternoon. West said “our victim and suspect” had second- and third-degree burns on about 65 percent of his body.
Landlord Tony Sullivan, who lives within sight of the two apartment buildings at Jenkins and Murrieltown roads in LaRue County, said Rucker had been staying there for about a month.
“He drives a truck and I only saw him when he’d come pay rent,” Sullivan said.
Vinyl siding on Sullivan’s other apartment building, also a one-story, six-unit weekly rental, was damaged slightly by the heat.
American Red Cross officials are assisting tenants of the apartments who lost belongings and their place to stay because of the fire.
Sparks said this was only his second investigation this year of a meth-related structure fire. “But we aren’t always called out.”
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.