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August 5, 2020

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Monday fire unraveling into a tragedy on several levels

The story of a house fire south of Ada on Monday evening is unraveling into a tragedy on several levels.

The fire resulted in the discovery of the existence of an active methamphetamine (meth) lab. In addition, one person is in critical condition. Another is charged with complicity to illegal manufacturing of drugs, and four juveniles are placed in custody of Children’s Services.

Ada’s fire department responded to a 6:30 p.m. fire alarm at 4781 State Route, Apartment A, south of Ada, on May 4.


Upon arriving at the scene, members of the department reported that a man, later identified as Charles Thomas Louden, was suffering burns over a large part of his body.

Ada Fire Chief Jay Epley reported to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office that as firemen entered the house they discovered “suspicious things.”

Sheriff officers arrived on the scene and interviewed Louden’s girlfriend, Julie Music. According to reports, she confirmed that Louden was cooking meth when the fire broke out. 

The Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification were both called to the scene. It was then confirmed of the existence of the meth lab.

The Ada EMTs transported Louden to either Hardin Memorial Hospital, Kenton, or Lima Memorial, as news accounts conflicted on this point.

Because of his extensive burns, Louden was eventually transferred via helicopter to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus. On May 6 he was listed in critical condition.

Hardin County Sheriff Keith Everhart said that charges are pending against both Louden and Music. The Icon understands that Music is in custody on one count of complicity to illegal manufacturing of drugs.

The Icon learned that six persons were living in the house. There were four children, the children’s mother, identified as Julia Music, and Louden.

The youths, between the ages of 10 and 15, are in custody of Children’s Services.

Several fire and rescue agencies assisted at the scene of the fire. Those agencies included Ada Fire Department, Ada EMS, Hardin County Crime Task Force, Alger EMS, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Ohio State Patrol, Alger Fire Department and McGuffey Fire Department.