An explosion at a home in San Diego’s Valencia Park area has been linked to a suspected methamphetamine lab, Drug Enforcement Administration officials told NBC 7 Saturday.
The DEA Narcotics Task Force confirmed the blast that erupted around 4:30 p.m. Friday at a home on South Valencia Parkway stemmed from a small home meth lab. A portion of the street remained closed to traffic Saturday as DEA officials continued their investigation.
A 38-year-old man was injured in the blast, according to SDPD Lt. Mike Ramsay. Detectives believe something exploded in the man’s hand, and that object had shrapnel in it, which hit the man on his face, arms and upper body.
“Whatever exploded in his arm area did propel whatever sharp metal type into his upper extremities and face,” Ramsay said. “There was debris that flew into his face area.”
NBC 7 spoke with neighbors Saturday who said they’ve been hearing a series of loud noises and booms coming from the home over the past few days. The house is located across the street from an elementary school.
Valencia Park resident Ron Cornelia said some of his neighbors have been telling him they’ve been hearing “explosions” in the middle of the night. When he got home from work Friday, his street was filled with police officers investigating the explosion at his neighbor’s house.
The blast happened in the backyard, where the 38-year-old was home alone, police said.
“There is a lot of stuff scattered within the backyard, tools, yard items, household items, somewhat messy. That's one of the challenges too for hazmat and fire personnel to make sure they're thorough,” said Ramsay.
Officials said that when the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department got to the scene they saw meth lab materials and bomb-making materials inside the home. They also found drugs and weapons.
Several neighboring residents were evacuated as the Sheriff's Bomb Squad investigated the scene, SDFD battalion chief Steve Salaz said.
The man was taken to UC San Diego’s Burn Center and is expected to recover.
NBC 7 Investigates has been reporting on the recent rise of methamphetamine in San Diego County. In the late 1980s, the county was a hotbed for meth production inside makeshift home labs.
Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the production of meth – from backyard labs to intricate super labs controlled by Mexican drug cartels.