A Cuyahoga Falls man and a Tallmadge man are both facing aggravated arson and multiple felony drug charges after the Falls Fire Department responded to a blaze at a Magnolia Avenue garage Dec. 27.
According to a press release from the police department, Todd M. James, 54, of Cuyahoga Falls, and Leo C. Stalter II, 27, of Tallmadge, are both charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony; illegal manufacturing of drugs, a second-degree felony; illegal assembly of chemicals, a third-degree felony; possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony; and drug paraphernalia, fourth-degree misdemeanor. They were transported to Summit County Jail.
On Dec. 27 at 8:06 a.m., the Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department was dispatched to a fire in the 900 block of Magnolia Avenue. Upon arrival they found two males at the scene later identified as James and Stalter attempting to put out a fire in an attached garage, according to the police department news release. Police said the 86-year-old female homeowner was asleep in the residence. The fire department immediately recognized the fire as having started as the result of a methamphetamine lab explosion, the news release stated. The fire was extinguished by the fire department with no reported injuries and they immediately requested police assistance.
The Cuyahoga Falls Police Narcotics Unit with assistance from the Summit County Drug Unit responded to investigate. After a search of the scene, it was determined that the residence was being used for the production of suspected methamphetamine and that the fire was the result of an accident in the lab, according to the news release. A hazardous waste disposal contractor was dispatched to the scene to clean up chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine.