Skip to Content

Suspected Meth Lab Discovered At Fire Scene

A Wednesday afternoon fire near Freeman Park resulted in an estimated $100,000 in damage, the arrest of two people on outstanding drug charges and the discovery of what law enforcement officials said was a meth lab.

Idaho Falls firefighters were initially called to a residence at 3178 N. 5th West on a report of a vehicle fire at 5:08 p.m.. A second alarm was sounded when the fire had moved to the house and nearby shed. The fire was contained to a back room of the house within 15 minutes.

Idaho Falls Fire Chief Brad Pettingill says a small propane tank located in the back seat of the vehicle exploded, creating additional heat.

Two people living in the house, identified as 46 year old Rodney Jenkins and 40 year old Tonia Jo Bates were arrested on outstanding warrants. Jenkins was wanted for one count of delivery of a controlled substance aiding and abetting. Bates was wanted on one count of delivery of a controlled substance aiding and abetting. Both were booked into the Bonneville County Jail.

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office says that as crews were fighting the fire in the basement of the house, they came upon chemicals and glass wear. Drug enforcement investigators determined the items found were consistent with a methamphetamine lab.

Law enforcement say while meth usage is high in Idaho, the discovery of the meth lab in this home was not typical.

“Traditionally, meth labs that were in homes or apartments or things of that nature, aren’t as common as they once were maybe 10 years ago,” said Sgt. Jeff Edwards of the sheriff’s office.

A search warrant was obtained for the residence and Idaho State Police investigators were called to the scene along with Regional Response Team 7. Both teams are trained and certified in hazardous materials cleanup.

“I was out planting corn, saw the smoke two miles away,” said neighbor Lynn Pack.

Pack talked to Jenkins. He said Jenkins was very upset after the fire.

“I just walked over there and talked to Mr. Jenkins and he told me that it actually started in the cab of his pickup,” said Pack.

Something told Pack there was nothing ordinary about the blaze.

“His exact comment was, ‘I’ve lost everything,'” said Pack.

Regardless of the fire damage, the owners may lose the home anyway.

“If they’re owning the home or are buying the home and we can show that they’re manufacturing the drug inside of that home and that’s how they’re using the money to pay for that home then we’re going to use that to show that home isn’t being legally paid for,” said Edwards.

Additional charges against Jenkins and Bates are pending as investigation of the scene continues.

The house has been boarded up and is being treated as a crime scene.

“There is a problem with methamphetamine in the state of Idaho in general. In the United States is probably a better term,” said Edwards. “To say we’re exempt from it in Bonneville County, absolutely not.”

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content