Motel fire leads authorities to meth lab discovery

Christopher Denning and Tabitha Cory

GRANT COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV)--- A motel fire leads authorities to discover an active meth lab Thursday night according to the Grant County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said they received the call about a fire in one of the rooms at the Fenmore Hills Motel on Highway 18 in Mount Ida Township just after 10:30 p.m.

26-year-old Christopher Denning and 34-year-old Tabitha Cory both of rural Fennimore told fire fighters that the fire was accidental and caused by a cigarette.

When deputies arrived on scene, they were told the occupants of the room had left.

Minutes later, and Iowa County Sheriff's deputy located their vehicle and initiated a traffic stop.

Deputies said Denning was a passenger, and he had second and third degree burns on his legs. He was later transported to UW Hospital in Madison. Cory was the driver.

They said Cory had her 12-year-old and 14-year-old children with her. Both children were in the room at the time of the fire.

The 12-year-old sustained minor burn injuries due to the fire. Both children received medical attention and were removed from Cory's custody by Iowa County Social Services and placed in temporary foster care.

Deputies said they found another "one pot" style meth lab in the passenger area of the vehicle and chemicals and supplies in the trunk of the vehicle which are used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Denning and Cory had been staying at the motel because of a fire at their house in Fennimore Township two days prior.

They said approximately 10 one pot meth labs along with discarded meth making materials were recovered at the residence where the two had lived prior to the motel.

The C.L.E.A.R. team and the Chicago Crime Scene Cleanup Team came to the residence.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Charges are pending on both Denning and Cory.

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