Woman Wanted in Motel 6 Meth Lab Fire Arrested at Another Motel with Meth-Making Chemicals in Car
CONTACT: Lt. Kevin Fiedor (850) 453-7840; or
Nina Banister (850) 413-2842
Warrants issued for three others in connection with December motel fire
NICEVILLE—A woman suspected of operating a methamphetamine lab that sparked an explosion and fire in a Destin motel room in December was arrested Wednesday in the parking lot of a Niceville motel. Niceville Police Department officers reportedly seized a mini-meth lab and chemicals for processing meth from her gray Dodge truck.
Tom Gallagher, Florida's state fire marshal, said detectives with the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations received warrants on Friday for Aprele Renee Lail, 35, and three others wanted in connection with the December fire at a Motel 6 in Destin. Adrian L Hormuth, 28, Diana Knight Denmon, 48, and Steven Todd Bullard, 38, are also being sought on charges in connection with the December 6, 2005, fire at the 405 Harbor Blvd. motel. The early morning fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damages.
"That fire put numerous motel guests at risk of injury," said Gallagher, who is pushing for legislation this year that would toughen criminal penalties for convicted meth manufacturers. "In Florida, meth labs have been found in suburban and rural neighborhoods, state parks, hotels and motels, and in automobiles traveling on our highways. This drug is tearing apart families and destroying lives and poses a significant threat to our communities."
Lail and the three others still being sought in the motel fire are each charged with drug manufacturing, arson, culpable negligence and failure to control or report a dangerous fire. Detectives said the four started the fire while operating an illegal methamphetamine drug laboratory in the motel room. As the fire burned out of control, all four subjects fled the motel without alerting the motel guests, the front desk employee or calling 911. The fire quickly spread throughout the room, destroying its contents.
Hormuth, who is still being sought on the charges, last week was accused of fleeing law enforcement officers who had spotted a large box in the front passenger seat of his Firebird. Reportedly officers saw that the box contained chemicals and elements used to make meth.
After hearing that state arson investigators were responding to increasing numbers of meth lab fires and explosions – more than 50 in less than two years – Gallagher prompted the State Fire Marshal's Office early last year to put together a comprehensive training program on meth labs for Florida's emergency responders. Six three-day-long classes have been held in various locations throughout Florida for several hundred emergency officers, free of charge.
Gallagher also is pushing for laws that would allow for the immediate removal of children from a home being used as a meth lab and enhance penalties for methamphetamine makers, particularly those whose labs injure emergency responders. The proposed legislation also would make the manufacture of meth a serious crime, allowing bond to be denied, and establish trust funds from proceeds of forfeitures in meth cases to help children of meth addicts and help local communities clean up meth labs.
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is the law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin. Anyone with information about this case or any incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON). Information may also be mailed to The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, 105A Lewis Street, Suite 103, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida 32547.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.