Tropicana casino fire sparked by would-be Walter White’s meth lab

TAGs: Atlantic City, tropicana

tropicana-casino-atlantic-city-meth-labA would-be Walter White has been arrested in Atlantic City after his meth lab caused a fire in a Tropicana Casino hotel room.

On Wednesday morning, firefighters responded to a call indicating a fire in progress on the 44th floor of the west tower of the Tropicana’s hotel. The blaze was soon under control and while the smoke forced the evacuation of four hotel floors, no serious injuries were reported and property damage was limited to around $50k.

However, once the smoke cleared and the firefighters got a better look at the room, they discovered the familiar apparatus of a makeshift methamphetamine laboratory. A check of the hotel’s surveillance system revealed three individuals fleeing the premises before the firefighters arrived on the scene.

The three suspects – two male, one female – were located and detained on Wednesday night, although two of them were subsequently released without being charged. But the man who rented the room, 49-year-old Michael Pillar, was charged with maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility, possession of methamphetamine and criminal mischief.

The meth lab was reportedly set up in the hotel room’s bathroom but the fire quickly spread to the main room, setting the bed on fire. A quick-thinking hotel staffer attacked the blaze with a fire extinguisher – suffering mild injuries in the process – while the hotel’s sprinkler system helped contain the fire to the single room.

Methamphetamine production is notoriously prone to sudden fires and occasional explosions, so the Tropicana is likely counting its blessings that the damage was so contained and that no one suffered any serious injuries or was killed.

But the Trop will likely face questioning as to why the would-be meth kingpin felt the hotel would be a good place to set up shop, given the strong odors – usually likened to cat urine or rotten eggs – that are associated with the drug’s manufacture.

At any rate, we strongly advise the Trop’s poker room to immediately implement a new Breaking Bad Beat promotion, in which anyone holding quads collects a jackpot when a fire alarm forces the immediate evacuation of the casino floor.


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