Story Summary

Heritage Inn explosion

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 4 updates

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were investigating an explosion inside a Midway area motel room that sent guests running for their lives.

An explosion at a San Diego area motel room was allegedly caused by a marijuana extraction process involving butane. (Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

An explosion at a San Diego area motel room was allegedly caused by a marijuana extraction process involving butane. (Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

The blast in a second-floor guest room at the Heritage Inn on Channel Way, just south of Interstate 8, was reported shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said.

“Glass flew everywhere, windows came out and mattresses came out. It was one big KABOOM and the whole building shook,” a hotel guest said.

Two people inside a room were trying to extract hashish oil from marijuana, using highly flammable butane, San Diego sheriff’s investigators said. Someone lit a cigarette and an explosion blew out walls and windows.

“I saw the guy screaming, crawling out,” said one hotel guest. “I put towels on him, he was burnt up, his eyelashes were burned out, his whole head and feet and hands were raw flesh and his hair was burned.”

Medics took the two people who had been in the room, a man and woman in their early 20s, to UCSD Medical Center for treatment of life-threatening burns and less severe injuries, respectively.

A 20-year-old man who was in an adjacent guest room at the time of the explosion — which blew out several windows and three walls — was taken to the same Hillcrest hospital with moderately serious trauma, in large part caused by flying structural debris, Luque said.

The force of the explosion shattered glass in every direction, sending debris flying, even blowing out the interior wall of the unit next door.

Residents were evacuated while firefighters extinguished the flames within 30 minutes. A hazardous-materials crew determined that no dangerous fumes or other toxic substances were present at the site following the blast and fire, according to Luque.

Longtime residents told Fox 5 that the area has had problems with drugs for years and this hotel knows about it.Explosion at Midway hotel

The man accused of causing the blast and his female companion, whose names were not immediately available, could face criminal charges over the destructive accident, police said.

SAN DIEGO — A suspected drug lab explosion blew out walls and windows at a Midway-area hotel and set part of it ablaze Wednesday, seriously burning a young man gravely and injuring two other people, authorities said.

Explosion-at-Heritage-InnThe powerful blast in a second-floor guest room at the Heritage Inn on Channel Way, just south of Interstate 8, was reported at about 11:15 a.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. It was caused when a man in the room lit a cigarette near a tank of butane, a highly flammable fuel being used to process marijuana into a more concentrated form similar to hash oil, police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown said.

Paramedics took a 21-year-old man and a woman in her 20s to UCSD Medical Center with potentially life-threatening burns and somewhat less severe injuries, respectively, SDFRD spokesman Maurice Luque said. The pair had been in the room where the explosion occurred, and a witness reported seeing the male occupant run outside screaming, engulfed in flames.

A 20-year-old man who was in an adjacent guest room was treated at the scene for moderately serious trauma, caused primarily by flying structural debris. The blast blew out several windows and three walls, Luque said.

Firefighters evacuated everyone from three-story hotel while extinguishing the blaze, which spread through walls into the third story and attic of the structure. It took the crews about 35 minutes to fully subdue the flames.

A hazardous-materials crew determined that no dangerous fumes or other toxic substances were present at the site following the blast and resulting fire, according to Luque.

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.

Ambulance outside motel explosionSAN DIEGO — At least three people were injured Wednesday in an explosion at a Midway area motel, fire officials said.

The explosion happened before 11:30 a.m. at the Heritage Inn Sea World on 3333 Channel Way.

Helicopter video showed flames and smoke coming from the roof of the three-story motel. Fire crews and ambulances were parked in the street outside the building. Police were evacuating the building.

The victims, two men and woman, were taken by ambulance to the burn center at UCSD Medical Center, fire officials said. At least one of the victims had life-threatening injuries, the official said.

FOX 5 has a news team on the way to the scene. Additional updates will be posted as new details become available.

Advertisement