11:36 AM EDT, March 17, 2013
WARSAW – Warsaw police are investigating a meth lab explosion that occurred in a room at the Days Inn but say they are no longer looking for a man they thought was hurt or may have been involved.
Police say the blast at the motel at 2575 E. Center Street just before 6 p.m. Saturday was so forceful it blew a door off and damaged an adjoining room.
When they got to the scene, smoke was coming from a second story room. Firefighters and medics found a fire in the bathroom of room 218 as a result of the explosion.
Authorities say the bathroom door was blown off its hinges, and the ceiling in room 218 and a next door room had fallen down.
No one was found in the room, but calls to dispatch found that an injured man was running near the Marketplace Shopping Center.
Police say 36-year-old Paul Luna ran from the hotel with his shoes and pants still smoldering.
He had severe burns to his arms and head and was flown to a Fort Wayne burn center.
Police say Luna told them that another person was in the room at the time of the explosion.
Investigators thought 22-year-old James Kern of Cromwell was the other man who also hurt in the blast and had been missing.
However, late Sunday morning, police issued a statement, saying they were no longer looking for Kern. Kern was found and did not have any injuries. In fact, police now don't even think Kern was around the Days Inn at the time of the meth lab explosion.
Additional evidence from the scene of the crime shows a bystander was the second person hurt after entering the room with a fire extinguisher. He suffered smoke inhalation, was treated at Kosciusko Community Hospital and later released.
Police believe the explosion was the result of one pot meth lab.
The Days Inn was evacuated. Four rooms were declared off limits. But other guests were back in their rooms at the inn Saturday night.
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