WWMT Newschannel 3 - Search Results
Portage Public Safety confirms meth labs at house fire
PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A fire has crippled a home near Deerfield and Quaker Streets in Portage.
It was breaking news we first brought you during our morning show.
During the investigation into that fire police say they found several suspected meth labs inside.
Police say that so far there have been no arrests in this case, but at least three investigators are interviewing people to find out what happened and who's to blame.
Portage Public Safety was called to the home on for an early morning fire. They found many of the people who lived there had fled.
"The report that we had was that there were 10-12 people in the house and then when we arrived there were only three remaining," said Sgt. Craig Begeman.
A team of officers wearing gas masks spent hours searching the home, finding five one pot meth labs and other meth making materials inside.
While police were out there the woman who has power over the estate showed up, telling us there has been an on-going issue at the home.
"My mom passed away. She's lived in this home for 45 years," said Denise Battees. "She told my bother, Duard, the one who was living here that he could stay here and use it as a home and he's kind hearted. He had friends that were homeless and he told them they could stay here."
But Battees' brother was arrested June 8th after a two hour stand off with police.
Battees says once he was sent to jail the people he let live with him invited even more people to move in.
The house is now trashed and Battees is fighting to evict at least a dozen squatters illegally living inside the home.
"It's just devastating that the law says that the squatters have more rights than the owners and we knew this was going to happen, it's just a matter of time," said Battees.
Police say finding the meth lab at the house will help their case, but since some of the squatters were invited to live in the home the family has to get an eviction notice from the court.
It could be a long process.
"It breaks my heart to see what they're doing to my mother's home and there's nothing we can do," said Battees.
Portage police tell me they can arrest squatters for trespassing, but only after the health department deems it a hazardous site.