Homemade flamethrower incident ends with child neglect charges for Tenn. couple

Dean and Kayla Sparks / Source: WJHL/Sullivan County Jail

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WVLT/WJHL) -- An incident with a homemade flamethrower ended with child neglect charges and a condemned property in Kingsport.

According to CBS affiliate WJHL, investigators responded to a home on Ward Place on May 13. Firefighters said they had been called to the home but no fire was found.

A court affidavit claimed that firefighters saw a man run into the house. Kingsport police spoke to the man, identified as 37-year-old Dean Sparks, who told them there was no fire.

Sparks allegedly told police that the complaints came from him "doing a fire demonstration" for his friends. Investigators then said they found a homemade flamethrower in the yard. Court documents said a neighbor claimed she "observed Dean messing with the flamethrower and heard three loud explosions.”

The Kingsport Bomb Squad was called to the scene.

Investigators searched the home. Court documents said the home's conditions were unsanitary.

“The conditions inside the home were extremely unsanitary. Rotting food was left on the countertops and multiple propane tanks were located throughout the home.” A bag with several different types of pills was also found.

Investigators found that three children lived at the home, but were out with their grandmother at the time of the incident.

The Kingsport Building Inspector was called to the home and then condemned the property.

WJHL reported that court documents said Sparks was charged with three counts of child endangerment, reckless endangerment involving a deadly weapon, two counts simple possession of a drugs and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.

Sparks' wife, Kayla, was charged with three counts of child endangerment. The children are in the care of their grandmother.

The Sparks are being held in the Sullivan County Jail. Both are due in court on May 21.

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