Two facing child neglect charges after homemade flamethrower incident


KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Two Kingsport residents are facing child abuse and neglect charges after firefighters were called to a Ward Place home for a structure fire.

According to court documents, Kingsport Police was called to the 1100 block on May 13 to back up the Kingsport Fire Department.

The firefighters said they were called to the home for a structure fire but no fire was found. 

The affidavit shows the firefighters saw a man run into the house.

Kingsport investigators spoke to that man, identified as Dean Sparks, 37, who told them there was no fire.

Sparks also said the complaints came from him “doing a fire demonstration” for his friends.

The court documents show officers found a homemade flamethrower in the yard.

Kingsport Bomb Squad was called to the resident due to the construction of the device.

According to the report, a neighbor “advised she observed Dean messing with the flamethrower and heard three loud explosions.”

The officer then received permission to search the home. “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 containing several types of pills was also located.

Investigators discovered during the search that three children lived inside the home but were with their grandmother at the time. 

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

According to online court records, Dean Sparks is charged with 3 counts of child endangerment, reckless endangerment involving a deadly weapon, 2 counts simple possession of drugs and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia.

Officers located Sparks’ wife, Kayla Sparks, at a store on East Stone Drive. She is charged with 3 counts of child endangerment.

The children are remaining in the care of their grandmother.

According to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, both are being held in the Sullivan County Jail. Dean’s bond is set at $6,500 and Kayla’s at $4,500.

Both are due in court on May 21.

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