Pot growing operation suspected in Valley Glen home explosion

Authorities Monday said an explosion that rocked a Valley Glen house and sent two people to hospitals was likely caused by equipment used in a home marijuana-growing operation.

The explosion that severely damaged the home and leveled the garage was reported at 9:26 p.m. Sunday at 12751 W. Archwood St., said Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart.

Seven people were inside the home when the blast occurred. A 59-year- old man was taken to a hospital with critical burn injuries, Stewart said.

Firefighters dug a 46-year-old man out of the debris. He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Another man suffered minor injuries but declined treatment, and a 65-year-old woman and three children were injured, she said. A woman from a neighboring home was evaluated for injuries but declined transport to a hospital. 

Firefighters discovered the second injured man while searching through shoulder-deep debris, Stewart said.

They started sifting through debris after a firefighter heard a tapping sound and they used a chain saw to clear some of the debris around him, she said.

"Firefighters detected the smell of a natural gas and worked to locate and secure the leak," Stewart said.

"The residence was red-tagged by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, prohibiting any further entry," she said. 

"A total of 13 homes surrounding the incident were requested to evacuate and seven homes sustained varying levels of damage from the debris but none were determined unsafe for occupancy."

On Monday morning, the LAFD released the following statement:

"#LAFD & #LAPD preliminary examination determined the explosion was not caused from a gas leak or a THC extraction lab. The inspection did find evidence of marijuana being grown in the garage area and that is part of the active investigation.''

It was not immediately known what equipment may have caused the explosion, though fertilizer or lighting equipment could have been acontributing factor, said LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.

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