Fire officials investigate vacant house fire, find evidence of drug activity inside

JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. - Fire officials continue to investigate a blaze that reportedly blew off the front of a vacant home Thursday afternoon. They told 41 Action News they found evidence of drug activity inside.

Firefighters were called out to the 8700 block of E. 16th Street in the Blue Summit neighborhood in unincorporated Jackson County, Mo., around 4:20 p.m.

The mostly volunteer Inner City Fire Department arrived to heavy smoke and fire pouring out of the front of the home.

"I heard a big old boom. I looked out the window there was white smoke pouring out of there. And the next thing I know there was a big ol' fire, and it scared me to death," said neighbor Jane Bryant.

There were also reports of several explosions, according to Fire Chief Jeff Jewell.

A neighbor told officials that while the house is vacant, people were sometimes seen coming and going from it. That prompted fire crews to do a search of the house.

"There is no gas to the house, so it's kind of suspicious that the house would blow up like that," Jewell said.

While the possibility of a meth lab was initially suspected and ruled out, investigators say they did find evidence of drug-related activity inside the home.

No victims were found in the residence. Jewell said one firefighter suffered a minor injury while fighting the blaze.

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