Two charged following South Knoxville meth lab fire

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Authorities have charged two people with trying to produce methamphetamine after firefighters were called to a South Knoxville home early Monday mornings on reports that a person there had sustained thermal burns.

Firefighters reportedly found a 29 year-old man with second-degree burns covering over 40% of his body at the home at 716 Avenue A. He was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment. They also said they found evidence of a meth lab.

The other two people in the home, neither of whom were injured, forty year-old Melissa Boots, who lives at the Avenue A address, and John Nichols, 22, of Loudon, were charged with one count of Initiation of Process to Manufacture Methamphetamine (Felony). Officials said they expect more charges as the investigation continues. Bond for each of them was set at $20,000.

The burn victim was taken first to UT Medical Center with second-degree burns covering over 40% of his body. He was later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital. Authorities expect to file multiple charges against him.

According to police reports, Shubert was stripping lithium from batteries as part of the meth-making process. They believe the lithium most likely reacted with moisture, starting a fire.

Police spokesperson, Darrell Debusk says, "Obviously meth is everywhere, we are going to continue to see these incidents. It is unfortunate. It takes people to watch what is going on their neighborhood."

He says meth was being made in the basement for five months now.

Crews were able to contain the incident to the home where the meth is being produced and did not evacuate neighbors.

Authorities say the biggest sign of a meth lab is a strong smell of ammonia, very similar to cat urine.

Other signs:


  • People up all night.. with high volume traffic

  • Peeled blister packs

  • Cans with holes punched in bottom

  • Batteries

  • Spray cans, the industrial type, like starter fluid

If you think neighbors are cooking or using meth - call police immediately.


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