Police charge three people for cooking meth with children nearby

By: Hilary Magacs Email
By: Hilary Magacs Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Apartment F-36 at Stonewall Apartments on Sevier Avenue is now quarantined - blocked off after police found a meth lab inside Tuesday evening. Betty Branch lives in an apartment just below:

"I saw the lights and at first I thought it was an ambulance, and then I saw all these people. And it scared me," said Branch.

Officers said they were at Stonewall Apartments following up on another meth investigation when they heard a struggle inside apartment F-36. Joshua Lyons and a crying woman came to the door and told officers four others were still inside. They found Thomas and Melanie Hamby and their two children - ages 7 and 14 - in a bedroom with a meth lab. Officers also found finished product and signs another lab had caught on fire.

"I mean, they're children. Aren't people supposed to want better for their kids?" said Edith Finney, a neighbor.

The Hambys and Josh Lyons face meth-related charges. Betty Branch is glad they're behind bars, but worries they've damaged her health.

"I just worry about the fumes and stuff - you could smell it last night. And you know, I don't know what that's going to do to us," said Branch.

She also worries the meth lab could have exploded - a fear police say comes true all too often.

"They can catch on fire very quickly, they can explode. Theyre hazardous not only to the occupants in the apartment, but to everyone in the entire apartment complex," said Darrell DeBusk, with the Knoxville Police Department.

Branch said she's so scared, she's looking for another place to live.

The Knoxville Fire Department decontaminated everyone found in the apartment.

The children were turned over to a family member after being evaluated at Children's Hospital.

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