Meth ingredients catch fire in Rountree

Emergency personnel from Platteville and Cuba City responded to a wastebasket fire in room 429b of Rountree Commons at 1:08 a.m. Saturday.
The small fire ignited from the attempted production of methamphetamine, according to the University Police report.
Three people were treated at Southwest Health Center, including the suspect, Mark J. Curda, 18, of Greenfield, Wis. A resident assistant and a campus police officer were treated for smoke inhalation.  Two other resident assistants were treated on-scene for smoke-related issues by local emergency medical personnel.
Curda was released later that morning from Southwest Health Center.  He was then arrested, transported to Grant County Jail and charged with manufacturing or delivering methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine precursors, and knowingly possessing methamphetamine waste.  The three charges are all felonies in the State of Wisconsin.
According to the University Police, Curda caused the fire while attempting to manufacture methamphetamine in his fourth-floor suite.  Curda was using the “one-pot” method of manufacturing the methamphetamine in a single, 20-ounce plastic bottle.
When the ingredients combusted, Curda extinguished the fire himself and emergency personnel were contacted.
All residents were not signaled to evacuate Rountree Commons, as the alarm system was designed to only notify those in the immediate vicinity of the fire.
“The fire alarm notification system did work as designed,” said Paul Erickson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville public information officer and director.  “The fire department responded using a skyscraper-type system where people that would be most effected would be evacuated.  The Platteville Fire Department determined that the other residents did not need to evacuate because of the size of this building.  (Rountree Commons) was designed differently than traditional residence halls.”
A methamphetamine expert from LaFayette County Drug Task Force investigated Rountree Commons and declared the building safe.  Most residents returned to their rooms within the hour.  The remaining fourth-floor residents were held in a conference room.  They were allowed back in their rooms at 4 a.m., according to the UW-Platteville press release.
An all-campus e-mail was sent out at 4:45 a.m. and 9:11 a.m. Saturday; however, not everyone received the notices.
“It seemed that the faculty e-mails went through, but something happened with the students’ (e-mail),” Erickson said.
On Monday, the University apologized to the campus community for the e-mail malfunctions.
Curda will appear in court with his attorney Christopher R. Smith at 1 p.m. Friday in Grant County Courthouse.
Smith could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.