(UPDATE: Warsaw Police are no longer seeking James Kern. He has been located and does not have any injuries. Police now say it appears Kern was not even present at Days Inn.)
Authorities are saying a meth lab explosion sparked a fire at the Days Inn in Warsaw and injured two people.
At approximately 5:52 p.m. Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory and Warsaw City Police were called to the hotel, located at 2575 E. Center St. According to officials, upon arrival at the scene fire and emergency crews discovered a fire located in the bathroom of room 218. The fire was the result of an explosion that reportedly blew the bathroom door off its hinges and caused the ceiling of room 218 and an adjoining room to collapse.
Though no one was discovered within the room on arrival, police were notified of an injured subject running near the Marketplace shopping center. Warsaw Police Department located Paul Luna, 36, of Ligonier, with his shoes and pants still smoldering from the fire. It is reported that Luna had suffered from severe burns to his arms and head and was flown by Samaritan air ambulance to the burn unit at Saint Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne.
Luna informed police that an additional person had been in the room at the time of the explosion. Police believe that James Kern, 22, of Cromwell, may have been injured in the explosion.
Following the call, the building was evacuated, however, officials now report that residents have been allowed back into their rooms. Four rooms have been closed off and quarantined due to the explosion and resulting fire and water damage. The Indiana State Police meth clean up team is on-site.
Another victim, identified as a bystander who entered the room with a fire extinguisher after the explosion, was taken to Kosciusko Community Hospital for inhaling chemicals. He was treated and released.
Winona Lake Police Department, Indiana State Police, Multi-Township EMS, Warsaw/Wayne Fire Territory, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department and the Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office assisted Warsaw Police.