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Arrests won't be made in Vashon meth lab explosion

No charges will be filed in the case of an alleged meth lab on southwest Vashon, King County Sheriff's officials said Friday.

A large explosion and fire flattened a backyard shed off Wax Orchard Road on Jan. 4, at a property that investigators and neighbors suspected was a methamphetamine manufacturing site.

But officials said they don't have enough evidence to prove the shed had been used to produce methamphetamine, a highly addictive illegal stimulant that can be produced using common household or industrial chemicals.

"Any evidence there may have been was burned up," said King County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart. "There is no evidence to prove it was a meth lab that we could use in court."

A resident of the home in the 24200 block of S.W. 129th Avenue was seriously injured by the Jan. 4 explosion — he was admitted to Harborview Hospital's Burn Intensive Care Unit, where he was treated for days before being released.

Sheriff's investigators interviewed the man and inspected the scene of the fire but determined there was no active methamphetamine lab at the property when the fire and explosion occurred.

County fire investigators are still examining the case to determine the cause of the fire, Urquhart said.

Neighbors of the manufactured home on a dead-end street, who had long suspected its residents of illegal activity there, accepted the news that law enforcement will not file drug-related charges against the man who was home at the time of the explosion.

Neighbor Emma Amiad said it was "a pity," but that she understood why charges won't be filed.

"You are innocent until proven guilty. If the police say they don't have ample evidence, I'm sure that's true," she said. "And if they can't be proven guilty, what's the point?"

Neighbor Chris Robison said he respected the way the sheriff's department handled the case.

"I feel like they've been honest and upfront," he said. The decision not to file charges, he added, certainly has cause.

"They know best how to handle it," Robison said.

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