Investigators: Child found alone in burning house with meth-making materials



ORANGE CITY, Fla. - A couple is in custody after firefighters in Volusia County responded to a garage fire and made two startling discoveries.

Fire crews were called to Wisconsin Avenue in Orange City just before 4 p.m. Friday where they discovered a meth lab and a young child alone inside the house.

“That’s scary, that’s scary, it’s a pretty decent neighborhood here,” said neighbor Ray Brasells.

When crews arrived at the scene a neighbor said he didn’t think anyone was home.

Crews said moments later a 9-year-old girl walked out of the home and said she was alone.

Firefighters then extinguished the small fire that was burning in the garage and found what appeared to be a methamphetamine lab as the source.

"When we arrived on scene, we found smoke coming from the garage area," said Bill Snyder with Volusia County Fire Rescue.

Crews in hazmat suits collected all of the meth-making equipment inside the home and brought it outside.

While they were putting out the fire, they said 35-year-old Melissa Berry and 35-year-old Jonathan Coburn arrived home.

Berry said that she and her live-in boyfriend, Coburn, lived there and leased the house together.

Berry said she was at work when the fire started and Coburn said he had gone to the store.

They told officers that while both adults were gone, the girl was at the house alone after school.

Investigators said Coburn and Berry denied knowing anything about the drug-making materials and marijuana plants that were found in the home.

The child meanwhile was brought to the hospital as a precaution, but didn’t sustain any injuries. She is now staying with relatives.

Once the fire was out, they realized just how dangerous this could have been.

“They noticed, all indications that there was a meth lab inside the house at that point,” Snyder said.

The firefighters had to be sprayed down to make sure they weren’t contaminated by the fumes from the meth-making materials.

Officials said the meth lab wasn’t very big, but it was still dangerous.

Berry and Coburn were arrested and charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, arson of an occupied dwelling, and cultivation of cannabis.