Fire and Explosion in Fort Walton Beach Traced to Methamphetamine

As a Panama City injury law firm, we work to protect people who are injured of suffer economic loss in the Bay County region. Many of these cases stem from someone else's negligence, but some can be traced to more knowing, wrongful acts. Given the likelihood of a tragic outcome, sometimes the phrase "drug-related accident" feels like a bit of a misnomer.

Northwest Florida Daily News is covering a blast that rocked an Okaloosa Island condominium last week. At 5:40 A.M. on Friday August 3, firefighters responded to reports of an explosion and fire at unit 508 of the Island Princess condo building on Santa Rosa Boulevard. Residents and guests evacuated the gulf-front property in the wake of the early morning flames.

Upon entering the unit, firefighters noticed items that are commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Members of the local Drug Task Force learned that 32-year-old Candace Lynn Beck, 39-year-old Ray Charles Callin Jr., and an unidentified woman were present in the unit at the time the explosion ignited the fire. According to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, investigators learned that the three occupants had left the property and travelled to a home at 423 Hollywood Boulevard N.W. in Fort Walton Beach. When deputies arrived at the house, Beck and the unidentified woman told them that Callin had been cooking meth in the condo unit. Beck acknowledged that she expected to get some of the drug once it had been produced.

Both Callin and Beck face charges of manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine. As of the NWF Daily News report, Beck is being held on $65,000 bond and Callin's bond is set at $75,000. In the arrest report, Beck listed the Island Princess condo as her address. Callin denied having been in the condo and his address was listed as the Fort Walton Beach home.

Methamphetamine poses significant danger to users. Even in small amounts, the drug has a stimulant effect on users that can lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, hyperthermia, wakefulness, and the potential for seizures. Long term abuse can cause severe dental problems, skin ulcers, anxiety, confusion, mood disturbances, and unpredictable or violent behavior. Other psychotic problems include paranoia, hallucinations (visual and auditory), and delusions. Users generally feel the need for greater amounts of the drug. Chronic abuse can also cause major structural and functional changes to the brain, including to areas involved in emotion and memory.

Meth also poses significant danger to innocent bystanders. Aside from potential injury associated with the use of meth (such as car accidents or violent user behavior), the manufacture of methamphetamine is highly volatile. This is especially true when manufacturers use the so-called "shake and bake" method, where even the slightest error can cause an explosion. The method allows "cooks" to operate in almost any location and has led to explosions in cars or vans.

If you have been injured by a meth explosion in Panama City, please contact our firm. Our personal injury lawyer will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

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