County man burned in meth lab explosion

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Culkin volunteer firefighters work to extinguish a fire in a motor home at 520 Berryman Road Tuesday afternoon. John C. Wiggins, its owner, was taken to Central Mississippi Medical Center and treated for burns, said Sheriff Martin Pace. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Culkin volunteer firefighters work to extinguish a fire in a motor home at 520 Berryman Road Tuesday afternoon. John C. Wiggins, its owner, was taken to Central Mississippi Medical Center and treated for burns, said Sheriff Martin Pace. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A Warren County man was hospitalized this morning after running out of his home on fire following a meth lab explosion Tuesday on Berryman Road.

John C. Wiggins, 42, was on fire when first responders arrived at about 3:30 p.m. at his motor home parked on the lawn of a mobile home at 520 Berryman Road, Lot 65, Sheriff Martin Pace said.

“Units on the scene found the victim outside with a water hose watering himself down,” Pace said. “It appears he ran out of the motor home on fire.”

The motor home also suffered fire damage.

Once the fire was extinguished, sheriff’s investigator Mike Traxler found several precursor chemicals commonly used to manufacture meth inside the home, Pace said. One of the chemicals was highly flammable Coleman fuel, Pace said.

“It appears there was an active meth lab in the motor home,” he said.

Wiggins was taken to River Region Medical Center, then flown to the burn unit of Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. His condition was unavailable this morning.

First responders reported Wiggins suffered extensive burns on his head, neck and torso.

A crew from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics cleaned up the meth lab and disposed of the toxic chemicals, Pace said.

Wiggins had not been charged this morning.

“The investigation is continuing and at the conclusion of the investigation, all the facts will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office,” Pace said.

While meth lab seizures are not uncommon, explosions have rarely been reported in Warren County.

The last meth lab fire reported in the county was Jan. 25, 2012, on Deer Ridge Road, Pace said. The suspect in the case was critically injured and has never been charged.

In 2008, three people were injured when a meth lab exploded on Poole Road.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that comes in several forms including ice, which resembles shards of ice or glass. Meth is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and limited medical use.

Only one legal meth product exists, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Prescription methampehtamine is used in the treatment of obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the DEA.