Butane Tanks Found at Site of Neighborhood Explosion

The explosion started a small brush fire and damaged a fence in a back yard

An explosion at a Southern California residence forced evacuations early Wednesday as authorities investigated whether the blast was connected to a narcotics operation.

Butane gas containers were found on the property, according to investigators. Butane is commonly used in the process of making intoxicating hash oil from castoff marijuana leaves and stems.

The resulting fire burned brush behind the residence in the 8000 block of Emmerson Road in Rosemead, about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The explosion appeared to have occurred in a shed behind a house.

Charred debris, including what remained of the shed and a fence, was scattered around the property.

"I thought it was fireworks," said resident Mike Maurizio. "I heard this popping and explosions."

Neighbors said they saw fire shooting from the back of the residence. Some began knocking on other neighbors' doors to alert them to the fire.

A burn victim, identified only as a man in his 30s, was hospitalized. Details regarding his condition were not immediately available.

The burn victim's father said his son suffered serious injuries.

"I don't know what he touched off," said Charles Bodner.

No arrests were reported.

The explosion and fire report was received at about 1 a.m. Residents were evacuated but later returned home after fire crews responded to extinguish the fire


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