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House fire ends with two accused of operating meth lab

A Portland house fire led to the arrests of a man and woman on charges of manufacturing methampetamine, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.

Fire departments from Portland, Brocton, Fredonia and West and East Dunkirk responded to the fire at 6:39 a.m. Tuesday on Woodcrest Avenue, the Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's Office said the fire was extinguished and confined to a bathroom.

The residents, Brandon E. Newby, 31, and Tara L. Mlacker, 43, escaped without injury, though two cats died, the Sheriff's Office said.

Fire investigators located items to which they alerted the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, which conducted an investigation, the Sheriff's Office said. The Sheriff's Office said they located items used to make meth.

Newby and Mlacker were each charged with a count of third-degree unlawfully manufacturing methamphetamine, the Sheriff's Office said.

Both were arraigned in Portland Town Court and taken to Chautauqua County Jail, where they were held without bail pending further action, the Sheriff's Office said.

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