Two men were hospitalized with burns, and firefighters were driven back from a burning house by explosions caused by a drug manufacturing process, authorities said today.
An initial investigation of the burned-out structure uncovered a “butane honey oil extraction laboratory,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Don Walker said.
Walker said butane bottles were found inside the residence, and it appeared one may have exploded, starting the fire.
Two occupants of the residence, aged 18 and 21, made contact with paramedics around 8:15 p.m., about a block from the blaze in the 2300 block of Ayers Avenue, Los Angeles County fire Dispatcher Michael Pittman said.
County fire officials said both men, described as suspects by the sheriff’s department, suffered critical burns.
Detective Frank Lyga, a member of the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Interagency Task Force, said the suspects face narcotics-related charges.
“If they survive, I’m going to charge them with manufacturing a controlled substance,” he told NBC4.
If one of the suspects died, the survivor likely would be charged with second-degree murder, Lyga said.
Firefighters at the residence reported hearing several explosions and were pulled back from the structure, which was allowed to burn, Pittman said.
The fire was doused by 80 firefighters in 45 minutes, Pittman said.
Damage to the structure — reportedly knocked off its foundation by the explosions — was estimated at $300,000.