Apparent Meth Explosion Claims Life of Blytheville Man

September 26, 2003 - Posted at: 2:58 p.m. CDT

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- Authorities in Blytheville believe an explosion in a home methamphetamine laboratory may have claimed the life of a local man early this morning.

Blytheville police and firemen responded to a residence at 1621 West Holly Street at approximately 12:30 a.m.  Authorities say the residence was engulfed in flames upon their arrival.  During the course of extinguishing the fire and searching the residence, firefighters located Dennis Conlee, Jr., 46, only a few feet from the door.  He was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Janet McDonald.

Further investigation of the incident revealed that neighbors reported hearing a sound like an explosion.  Investigators also recovered several items at the scene consistant with the manufacturing of methamphetamine.  Meanwhile, Conlee's body will be sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy to make a determination on the exact cause of death.