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Meth lab explosion in Lebanon critically injures man

By Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated May 5, 2014 at 11:09 PM

A meth lab explosion Sunday night injured two people, including one man who was critically injured.

Initially, Lebanon police said around 8:45 p.m. they responded to 802 Red Fox Court apartment A for a possible house fire and a man, later identified as Daniel Joseph Hickman, 26, running from the scene on fire.

Upon arrival, officers said they found smoke coming from the front of the residence and a female, found to be Brittany Robeson, 20, sitting in the floor and stating her foot had been burned. 

Officers took Robeson outside and then went inside the apartment to look for more people. 

While inside, they found several items used they believed were used to manufacture methamphetamine, including pseudoephedrine, boxes of Claritin D, drain opener and sulfuric acid. Officers also found a burned bottle, coffee filters and an electric grinder with a white powder in it. 

They said there was also a strong chemical smell. 

On the front porch, officers found a broken digital scale, burned clothes and a syringe.

Meth task force officers then responded to the scene to confirm the items were used for manufacturing meth, as well as to dispose of the items properly. 

According to police, WEMA officials said Hickman later told paramedics he wanted to speed up the process, so he put the lab in the microwave. When he took it out, the lab apparently exploded.

“He is lucky to be alive, and it’s a wonder it didn’t blow the house up,” said Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen.

Lebanon police meth technician Chris Luna said two more shake meth lab bottles were found in the apartment, along with about 105 grams of crushed Ephedrine and syringes. 

Luna said the side of the duplex where the incident happened was quarantined and state Meth Task Force agents were called in to assist with the cleanup and disposal of the labs and their ingredients.

Officers said Timothy Pelletier, 29, walked up to the scene and said he was there when the incident happened but was unaware what was going on when his friend, Hickman, came out on fire. Pelletier said he had been staying at the apartment for a few days and he had been sleeping on the couch.

According to officers, five people – including an infant – were in the duplex next door when the explosion happened, but none were injured. 

Officers said WEMA took Robeson to University Medical Center by ambulance. Hickman was later found at Hobbs Field and was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center by LifeFlight. 

Officers said Hickman would not cooperate with them.

Bowen said he expects charges to be filed.

A Vanderbilt Medical Center spokesperson said Hickman remained in critical condition Monday.

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