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Man's Meth Lab In Atlantic City Casino Causes Fire, Hotel Evacuation, Police Say

Michael Pillar Of New Jersey Charged Over Incident

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Police in Atlantic City are investigating a bizarre incident at one of the local casinos.

Authorities said Thursday in a news release that a fire Wednesday at the Tropicana casino-hotel “resulted in the discovery” of a make-shift meth lab set up by a hotel guest. According to authorities, the meth lab caused the blaze.

Shortly before 10 a.m., the Atlantic City Fire Department responded to the Tropicana for a report of a fire in a hotel room on the 44th floor of the West Tower. The fire was contained to one room and was quickly extinguished. The occupants of the room were not immediately located, as several floors of the hotel were evacuated due to smoke.

During the fire department’s investigation into the cause of the fire, police detectives were requested to the scene after the meth lab was located in the hotel room. The New Jersey State Police Hazardous Material Response Unit responded to the scene and dismantled the lab.

Tropicana surveillance officers were able to locate video footage of individuals that had fled the room and the hotel before the arrival of police. Detectives said they were able to quickly identify the two males and one female. At around 9:30 p.m. that same day, police found the suspects on a nearby street and took them into custody. Police later charged Michael Pillar, who rented the hotel room. The two other individuals were released without being charged. Pillar was taken into the Atlantic County Justice Facility after being treated at a local hospital for injuries sustained from his alleged meth lab.

Police didn’t say how long the hotel room had been home to the meth lab.

Pillar, 49, was charged with maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility, possession of methamphetamine and criminal mischief.