Blount Co. meth labs spark fires, worry neighbors

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BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Firefighters thought it was a normal call when they arrived at a small brush fire on Tuckaleechee Pike Tuesday. Shortly after, they learned meth was to blame for the flames.

"There was just a small amount of fire in the ditch line," said Blount County Fire Department Lieutenant Johnny Leatherwood.

It was quickly extinguished with no signs anything suspicious. It wasn't until the second call that the Blount County Sheriff's Office and the 5th Judicial Drug Task Force arrived. At that point, it was determined the fire was caused by "one pot" meth labs.

The small meth labs contained in beverage bottles is a growing trend in rural areas. The trend's movement to populated areas has some people worried.

"Beer bottles in a ditch is common thing and we have garden clubs and several ones that try to keep the road ways clean and they go out and pick up garbage. They see a beer bottle in a ditch and they're going to pick it up," said Leatherwood.

Bob Wiggins has lived on Tuckaleechee Pike for the last decade. He says drivers use the road like a dumping ground.

"I pick up soda pop cans, beer cans, paper, bottles... seems like they like to throw things down on this street," said Wiggins. "I'm concerned now about if I see something out there do I get it or do I call the fire department? I don't know."

The Blount County Sheriff's Department encourages residents to use common sense. It says it's OK to pick up trash unless the bottles have much in the bottom or a hole and hose coming out of the lid.

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