Meth Eyed as Possible Cause in Car Fire

Witness says car became engulfed in flames within seconds

Narcotics investigators are trying to determine if methamphetamine was involved in a fire that injured five people at a Lake Worth intersection Wednesday night.

The 2003 Ford Taurus burst into flames at Loop 820 and Azle Avenue at about 8:15 p.m. Lake Worth police said an explosion and fire occurred in the backseat.

A witness told NBC 5 that the fire started inside the car. Erick Moya said the car came to a stop and became engulfed in flames within seconds. The occupants of the car ran out of the car on fire, he said.

Herschel Tebay, commander of the Tarrant County Narcotics Unit, said they have indicators that the people in the car may have been making methamphetamine. Investigators found precursor chemicals in the trunk, he said.

The narcotics unit is awaiting tests to determine if meth was involved.

Tebay said investigators received information that someone was shaking a bottle in the backseat. He said it is a common practice, but that it's "a very dangerous proposition."

He said a small amount of meth can be converted in the process. But if pressure is not released, it can often lead to sparks and even an explosion, as it involves a chemical process.

MedStar EMS said Wednesday night that four men and one woman in their mid-20s were taken to Parkland Hospital with burns. Four of the patients were airlifted to the hospital, while another went in a ground ambulance.

The names of the patients have not been released because of the ongoing investigation, Lake Worth police said.

Lake Worth police say they called in the narcotics unit because they felt the fire was suspicious, given that only one vehicle was involved, where the fire started and what witnesses reported seeing.

"We hope after the investigation is complete that we learn more and if criminal charges can be filed, they will be filed," said Lake Worth Officer Don Price.

Price said all of the injured individuals were still at the hospital. He said they believed the injuries were not life-threatening.

Lake Worth Fire Marshal Mike Voorhies told NBC 5 that they would explore all possibilities in finding the cause of the fire, a blaze he described as "very unusual."

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