Responders Put Out Small Fire at Soldotna’s Tobacco Distress

Responders put out a small fire at the Tobacco Distress establishment on the Sterling Highway on Thursday night. Image-Google maps
Responders put out a small fire at the Tobacco Distress establishment on the Sterling Highway on Thursday night. Image-Google maps

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of a small fire at the Tobacco Distress Inc building near mile 91.5 of the Sterling Highway that occurred on Thursday night, the trooper dispatch revealed on Friday.

Troopers and fire crews from the Central Emergency Services responded to the scene at 11:29 pm on Thursday night to find a small exterior fire at the business. The building was unoccupied at the time of the incident, and so no injuries were reported.

The fire crew was able to extinguish the fire before it got out of hand and so, the building suffered only a small amount of damage to the exterior.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”adsense-body-ad”]Co-owner of the business, 33-year-old Loren Kneeland and her husband, Phillip were arrested in late December for distributing synthetic marijuana out of the establishment after an investigation that was initiated in October. It had been brought to the attention of the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit that the business was selling “Spice,” or synthetic cannabis. As a result of that initial investigation, 518 packets were seized from the business and sent to the State Crime Lab for analysis. That testing showed that 146 of those packets contained chemicals that have been designated as Schedule IIIA controlled substances in the state.

Further searches at the couple’s home would result in over 6,000 packets of the illegal substance being seized by investigators.

Late in 2015, Several protesters gathered near the business and sported picket signs that said “Spice Kills,” “Honk if You Hate Spice,” “Family Before Profit,” and “Say No to Designer Drugs.”

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It is unknown if the fire at the establishment has any connection to the earlier criminal case.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Adversal-468×60″]