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One man was taken into police custody and another was flown to UC Davis Medical Center with third-degree burns on his face and torso on Wednesday after their drug operation at Forest Manor Apartments reportedly went awry.
“They were in the process of cooking and preparing hash, and it got away from them,” South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Brian Uhler said.
Around 3:30 p.m. the butane the two young men, both in their 20s, were using caught fire, causing an explosion, Uhler said. They brought the container outside, where it flashed quickly and lit one of the men on fire.
Pedro Vargas, who lives in the apartment building behind Forest Manor at the corner of Forest and Wildwood avenues said he heard a sound like a balloon blowout and saw flames coming from the lower level of the apartment building.
About 10 firefighters and four law enforcement personnel responded to the fire, evacuating the six units in the building. No other buildings were affected.
Initially firefighters were concerned that they were dealing with a drug lab, but were told by the suspect that it was a smaller operation, Uhler said.
Neither the amount of drugs in the apartment or the extent of the damage to the unit is known, and Uhler said police will pursue charges against both of the men who were present.