A possible marijuana "honey oil" extraction operation left two people and a dog burned and caused approximately $80,000 in damage after a motel caught fire Sunday morning, police said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Temple Station deputies and LA County Fire Department personnel responded to a Motel 6 on the 1200 block of Durfee Avenue in South El Monte around 12:37 a.m. after receiving a call regarding a structure fire, Sheriff's Information Bureau Deputy Lisa Jansen said in a news release.
Upon arrival, deputies and firefighters found "several" motel rooms on fire, Jansen said. One neighbor told police he had heard an explosion and came out to see other neighbors running out of the building, said Scott Schulze, a detective with the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT).
After firefighters extinguished the flames, detectives from the LASD Arson Explosives Detail recovered evidence and determined that there was a possible honey oil laboratory at the location, Jansen said. Detectives also found "police related equipment" at the location, she said.
"It wasn't the biggest, but it had more sophisticated equipment than some of the others," Schulze said of the laboratory.
Two suspects were detained at the scene and transported to a hospital to treat their burns, Jansen said. A dog also suffered burns and was taken to a veterinarian for treatment. A second animal that was in the suspects' room was uninjured and was taken by animal control, Schulze said.
Investigators think a third suspect, possibly suffering from burns, may have fled the scene before officers arrived, Jansen said.
Detectives from the LA IMPACT Clandestine Laboratory Team are collecting evidence. Anyone with information is asked to call LA IMPACT at 323-869-6874. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.