Two house fires, one a meth lab, the other suspicious
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. believes one house fire near Mauckport two weeks ago was a meth lab that exploded, but they don’t know what to think about a second house fire last week near Central that the owner says he set on purpose.
Scott Robinson, 42, told police and reporters Thursday morning that he poured lacquer thinner on the carpet of his modular home on Meridian Lane off Watson Road and set it on fire. Police and reporters found Robinson in Central, apparently leaving the scene in a pickup truck that had a ‘rotten’ back tire.
Indiana State Fire Marshal Andy Long was called to the scene, and he examined it with Chief Gary Gilley and Harrison County Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Reas. Volunteer firefighters from Boone, Heth and Harrison townships responded to the blaze, which was called in about 6:30 a.m. The home was fully engulfed when they arrived, and it was a total loss.
Officer John Dismang interviewed Robinson at length next door, 200 or 300 feet away, at the home of his mother, which wasn’t damaged by the fire. No charges have been filed, but the investigation is continuing, Gilley said.
Gilley said the fire endangered the lives of the firefighters, and Robinson could face charges if there is a mortgage on the property. Alex Davis of The Courier-Journal reported that Robinson said he wasn’t sure if he was still making payments on the house or if he owned it outright. He told a WHAS-TV reporter that he was ‘ready to move.’
Robinson is the son of the late Samuel C. Robinson, former chairman and chief executive officer of Robinson-Nugent in New Albany, which manufactured electric connectors. Scott’s uncle, Jim Robinson, a former executive with the company, lives in Lanesville. He told The Courier-Journal that his family was shocked to hear of the incident.
Meanwhile, Robert Donahue, 38, Mauckport, was arrested Sunday in connection with the Mauckport fire and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance, possession of two or more precursors, and possession of paraphernalia. He had been serving weekends in jail for a prior charge of driving while intoxicated.
Donahue’s seven-year-old child has been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services. Donahue’s wife, Carolyn is in jail in Brandenburg.
Police are looking for another man who lived with Donahue.
Boone Township firefighters responded to a call at mid-morning of a fire at the Donahue residence, about a mile east of Mauckport on S.R. 11. No one was inside and there were no injuries.
The house was a total loss, but police and fire marshal Andy Long found suspicious objects that made them think the house was a meth lab, Gilley said. The Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Clandestine Lab Team was summoned. The Drug Enforcement Agency Haz-Mat Team collected materials at the scene.
A large rabbit in a small cage and a large brown dog were also removed.