Stockton Neighborhood Rocked by Drug Lab Explosion

STOCKTON -- A 46-year-old Stockton man, who was seriously burned after an explosion, is facing more trouble after detectives say his illegal drug lab blew up Thursday afternoon.

Investigators say the discovery was made aling Stern Place in Stockton.

A neighbor, who witnessed the horrifying scene, says that he saw the suspect on fire.

The flames destroyed two cars, engulfed the entire first floor and the home is now unlivable.

Cell phone footage captured by Rey Paculba shows a car on fire and neighbors trying to figure out what exploded and why.

“It sounded like fireworks,” said neighbor Danny Vierra. “And it started like leaking a lot of air and then bah-boom! And that was it.”

Vierra says he tried to buy the now burned and totaled Honda Civic from his 46-year-old neighbor. He’s now reeling from seeing that man on fire

“I know I saw this guy come running out of the house with his elbow burning and his back burning,” stated Vierra.

Investigators with the Stockton Police Department say the 46-year-old suffered severe burns and is now recovering at the UC Davis Medical Center.

However, the trouble for that man is only beginning.

“The suspect was actually cooking honey oil in the garage when one of the tanks exploded,” said Rosie Calderon, Stockton PD’s community service officer.

There’s nothing sweet about the damage, though. Two cars, the garage and the entire first floor are now demolished.

“Regular family, household that lived there but other than that, no, no suspicions, at all,” stated neighbor Joseph Rilveira.

For what many describe as a quiet neighborhood, the explosion was startling but not completely surprising.

“Nowadays, you never know, you never know. Surprises… can be any of these houses,” Vierra said.

Investigators have not yet released the identification of the suspect but when he is out of the hospital, officials say he’ll be booked and facing serious drug charges.

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