It is one thing to order a full bar of booze from room service while partying at a Atlantic City Casino, but cooking up meth in your rented room is a whole other ball game. The online version of the Daily News at nydailynews.com reported late last week that someone’s makeshift meth lab in a Tropicana Casino hotel room was almost the scene of a major disaster.
The meth lab did cause a fire that led to a full four floors of the hotel having to be evacuated last Wednesday. The only reported injuries from the blaze were to the man who rented the room and to a hotel employee that entered the room after the fire had been discovered. The injuries sustained did not appear to be life-threatening.
Atlantic City police arrested New Jersey native Michael Pillar, of Whiting and charged him with ‘maintaining a drug production facility, possession of methamphetamine and criminal mischief’ as reported by the Daily News. The suspect is in Atlantic County Jail after being released from a short stay in the hospital.
The damage from the meth lab fire was limited to the 44th floor of the Tropicana. The hotel’s general manager Steve Callender started in the article that the area surrounding the fire is safe and secure. He also stated that any affected rooms would be restored to general use by the weekend. In a direct quote, he went on to add, “The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority at Tropicana Atlantic City.
The fire was first discovered early Wednesday morning when it was reported to hotel officials at 9:47 a.m. The report described a bed and a bathroom on fire. A fast-acting hotel employee used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze, and the building’s automated sprinkler system prevented the fire from spreading past the initial two areas. Smoke from the fire was responsible for the temporary evacuation of guests on the surrounding four floors. Portable fans were used to clear any remaining smoke from the resort.
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Through the footage on a casino surveillance video, the police were able to identify two men and one woman fleeing the room before any emergency personnel arrived on the scene. Roughly 12 hours later, all three taken into custody, but only one man was charged. Credit the fast-acting response from the hotel staff along with Atlantic City area fire firefighters and emergency responders with keeping this fire contained, which still had the potential to turn into a perilous situation if those initial actions were not put into place.
The burning question (no pun intended) in this whole bizarre incident is why anyone would think to cook up some meth in a hotel room? Was this an act of desperation to try and make up for some considerable gambling losses at the casino? Was this a traveling meth lab that could be quickly set up and taken down? You would have to think that there are some specific follow-up questions on the table following this news report.