Jonesboro Man Dies in Independence County Meth Lab Explosion

JUNE 21, 2005 - Posted at 7:34 a.m. CDT

THIDA, AR - Police say a Jonesboro man is dead after he suffered a concussion and breathed in toxic fumes during a methamphetamine lab explosion.

Brian James Markum, 32, died at the White River Medical Center in Batesville after the weekend fire and explosion.  Thida firefighters said they found the man after being sent to a suspicious fire in the woods.  When firefighters found the meth lab they called the Independence County Sheriff's Office.

Officers said they found evidence of a meth lab and then found Markum walking out of the woods, saying he had been bitten by a snake.  Medical workers said there was no evidence of a snake bite.  Police said Markum's body was sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy.

A woman identified as 38-year-old Sandra Brokaw of Bay was also taken into custody by authorities when they responded to the scene.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)