Man, Child Injured in Motel Room Fire; Meth-making Operations Discovered


- (CHANNEL 3000

A man and one child were injured after a motel room when a meth lab caught fire in Grant County Thursday, officials said.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a fire in one of the rooms at the Fenmore Hills Motel Thursday at 10:40 p.m. The Fennimore Fire Department also responded and extinguished the fire.

Deputies were informed the occupants of the room had left, according to the report. The occupants informed firefighters that the fire was accidental and caused by a cigarette.

As deputies investigated the scene, they discovered an active methamphetamine cooking lab. Law enforcement officials put out an alert to police to locate the occupants, who had left the scene, according to the report.

Minutes later, an Iowa County Sheriff’s deputy found the suspects' vehicle and initiated a traffic stop.

Christopher Denning, 26, who was a passenger in the vehicle, had second- and third-degree burns on his legs and was later taken to UW Hospital in Madison. Tabitha Cory, 34, was driving, and her two children, ages 12 and 14, were also in the vehicle.

The sheriff's office said both children were in the room at the Fenmore Hills Motel at the time of the fire. The 12-year-old suffered minor burn injuries from the fire. Both children received medical attention, were removed from Cory's custody by Iowa County Social Services and placed in temporary foster care.

Deputies discovered another one-pot-style meth lab in the passenger area of the vehicle and chemicals and supplies used to manufacture meth in the trunk of the vehicle.

The Clandestine Lab clean-up Unit team from the state Department of Criminal Investigations and the Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup Team responded to the motel.

Deputies said Denning and Cory were staying at the Fenmore Hills Motel because their house, in the town of Fennimore, burned down two days earlier.

Investigators found about 10 one-pot meth labs along with discarded meth-making materials at the home where Cory and Denning lived prior to living at the motel.

The sheriff's office said charges against Denning and Cory are pending the completion of the investigation.

The C.L.E.A.R. team and the Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup Team also responded to the Cory and Denning's former residence. The sheriff's office said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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