House explosion caused by synthetic marijuana manufacturing, deputies say

By Phil Archer - Reporter

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputies are investigating an explosion in the upscale Riverstone neighborhood.

The explosion ripped through the house, which police said was being used as an illegal drug lab.

It happened on Friday afternoon. The explosion ripped through a back room of the house where deputies said synthetic marijuana was being manufactured.

There were at least four people inside the house at the time of the explosion. Neighbors said they ran out of the house.

They turned up later at a local hospital. All are still being treated for serious burns.

“Quite honestly, they’re lucky to be alive,” Fort Bend Sheriff Troy Nehls said. “To have a chemical to be able to cause this type of explosion, it’s dangerous, not only to individuals inside the house but to the people living next door."

The men were using highly flammable acetone to mix the drug. Capt. Josh Dale with the Fort Bend Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division said that’s probably what caused the explosion.

“That’s my presumption, is they were in here without proper ventilation and something caused a spark and ignited the acetone,” he said.

Neighbors said the men had been renting the $400,000 house for several months, but didn’t seem suspicious.

Kevin Fleming lives just across the street.

“Always lots of coming and going with them. They always seemed friendly, polite. (It's) a nice quiet neighborhood. See people once and again, but see nothing unusual,” he said.

While a KPRC2 crew was there Monday afternoon, a man who identified himself as a resident returned to the house but declined to talk about the explosion except to say he knows nothing about illegal drugs being manufactured there.

Nehls said the four suspects now in custody, three men and a woman, will be charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and possibly arson.

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