MANCHESTER - A man and woman are under arrest in connection with a methamphetamine lab that caused a fire in an apartment building in a congested West Side neighborhood Sunday morning.
Anthony Brown, 35, of 1157 Front St., and Brooke Watt, 32, of 53 Sullivan St., second floor, were arrested Sunday and charged with one count each of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Lt. Maureen Tessier said police are looking for some other people who were inside the second-floor apartment at the time the fire broke out and who fled the scene.
The DEA's Clandestine Lab Unit was called to the scene to assist in the investigation and to collect the dangerous chemicals.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant often created in crystal form by "cooking" batches of chemicals in makeshift laboratories. The chemicals used in the recipe become extremely flammable in the process.
No one was injured in the incident. Emergency personnel helped 25 people, including both children and adults, leave the burning six-unit apartment building.
The fire, reported at 7:50 a.m. Sunday, was contained to the second-floor apartment.
At his arraignment Monday in 9th Circuit Court, Manchester District Division, Brown could enter no plea to the felony charge. But that didn't stop him from repeatedly proclaiming his innocence. "I didn't even do nothing," he said. "I wasn't making nothing. I can't see why I have a $20,000 bail."
Brown, who said he lives at 1157 Front St., said: "I was just there (Sullivan Street). We were on the other side of the house when the fire broke out." He insisted he was just visiting at the Sullivan Street address "with my girl."
Police prosecutor Lt. Peter Favreau asked Judge William Lyons to maintain the $20,000 cash/surety bail, saying Brown is also under the umbrella of a May 2013 one-to-three-year suspended sentence from Hillsborough County Superior Court on drug and theft convictions.
At the time of his arrest, Brown was out on $2,000 personal recognizance bail on Sept. 28 charges that allege he took a woman's cell phone and hit her on the head with it. Trial on the simple assault charge is scheduled for Dec. 2.
Watt's bail was also continued at $20,000 cash/surety. Favreau said she is under the umbrella of a suspended 12-month sentence from another jurisdiction.
Bail conditions for Brown and Watt bar contact with one another. Probable cause hearings for both were set for Oct. 30.
(Union Leader Reporter Dale Vincent also contributed to this story.)
Previous story follows:
MANCHESTER— Additional arrests are expected in connection with a methamphetamine laboratory discovered by firefighters after they arrived to battle a fire in a West Side apartment house Sunday morning.
Police said two people were arrested Sunday and others were being sought after the meth lab was found in a second floor apartment at 63 Sullivan St., a building mere blocks away from three city schools.
Firefighters were called to the fire at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. District Fire Chief Michael Gamache said he was told at the scene that a meth lab was operating in the building, and he ordered firefighter to take steps to avoid the possibility of injury if the volatile chemicals used to create the illegal drug were to ignite or explode.
Methamphetamine is a highly-addictive stimulant that is often created in crystal form by "cooking" batches of chemicals in makeshift laboratories. The chemicals used in the recipe become extremely flammable when "cooked" to create the crystal form of the drug prized by users.
Nobody was hurt as public safety personnel helped 25 people leave from the building. A group that authorities say they believe was in the apartment fled on foot.
The building is a couple of blocks from the campus that is home to the Gossler Park Elementary and Parkside Middle schools and a few blocks in another direction from Manchester High School West.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration was summoned to handle the chemicals involved and is working with police in the investigation.
Police would not release the names of the two people were arrested while the search for other suspects continues.
- Bill Smith, New Hampshire Union Leader