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Forum staff reports, Published June 05 2009

UPDATED: Meth-making equipment found at fire site

UPDATED 9:12 a.m.

FARGO – Authorities say items used to manufacture methamphetamine were found in and around a semitrailer where firefighters fought a blaze Thursday in a grove of trees filled with abandoned cars just south of Fargo.

Firefighters were dispatched at 11:24 a.m. to the fire at 5605 38th St. S., just south of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter under construction.

After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters noticed items inside the semitrailer and in the surrounding area consistent with items used to make meth, Cass County Sheriff’s Detective Jesse Jahner said.

The items included propane cylinders with altered valve systems, which are commonly used to store anhydrous ammonia, a common ingredient in the meth-making process, Jahner said. Also found were solvents, paint thinner and battery strips.

“The lab as we could investigate it appeared to be an active methamphetamine lab,” he said.

The sheriff’s office and state Bureau of Criminal Investigation processed the scene for evidence.

No arrests have been made, but authorities have a suspect in the case, which remains under investigation, Jahner said.

The property is owned by Thomas Boyle. He is not a suspect, Jahner said.

The meth-making equipment has not been identified as the cause of the fire, which also is still under investigation, he said.