Sheriff: Suspect in Lenoir County meth fire charged with felonies

Sheriff: Suspect in Lenoir County meth fire charged with felonies

LENOIR COUNTY - A Lenoir County man has been charged with felonies for allegedly operating a meth lab in his home, which caught fire Thursday night.

According to the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office, Ralph "Fast Eddie" Stroud is being jailed under a $400,000 secured bond on felony charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and burning of certain buildings.

Stroud's home, located on the 5600 block of Highway 11 north of Pink Hill, caught fire at about 7 p.m. Thursday, damaging more than 60 percent of the residence, said Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill. The fire flared up again early Friday morning.

Investigators said they believe the fire was the result of a meth explosion, since they found both meth and meth ingredients inside the home, as well as evidence of an explosion.

Lenoir County detectives are working with the State Bureau of Investigation to determine the exact cause.

Stroud was arrested Friday after returning to the home to discuss the incident with investigators, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Hill released the following statement following Stroud's arrest.

"I am thankful that no firefighters, law enforcement or citizens were harmed during this incident.  The fumes and smoke when these ingredients are burned are harmful to ingest and create a public danger. 

"These first responders have done an excellent job in protecting their community and I know the citizens are grateful for their hard work. This investigation will continue and I expect other charges may be filed against Stroud. 

"Although he is innocent until proven guilty, he has demonstrated through his actions his disregard for the law and shown that he is a danger to this area and I hope that is taken into account when he sees his day in court."

Stroud was previously arrested for cooking meth at the same house in August. Sheriff Hill said Stroud bonded out of jail for those charges.

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