Drug lab suspected in hotel explosion

SAN DIEGO — An explosion that tore through a Midway-area hotel Wednesday appears to have been caused by a couple cooking illegal drugs in one of the rooms, police said.

The blast at the Heritage Inn SeaWorld at 3333 Channel Way originated in Room 225 at about 11:15 a.m. and blasted through the walls into adjoining rooms, investigators said. A man and woman, both in their 20s, in Room 225 were burned, as was a man in another room, they said.

Residents said they saw a man running down the hall in flames.

The three victims were taken to the UCSD Medical Center  burn unit. At least one had life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

Police evacuated 50 to 60 people from the three-story motel.

It took crews about 40 minutes to extinguish the fire.

Personnel with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were called in to investigate firefighters’ suspicion that the explosion resulted from an illicit methamphetamine production setup, DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick said.