Illicit drug lab suspected in explosion at Anaheim strip mall

Firefighters at the scene of an explosion in Anaheim late Wednesday.

Authorities are trying to determine whether a business in a strip mall where an explosion and fire occurred late Wednesday in Anaheim was an illicit drug lab.

Firefighters and police responded to reports of an explosion at in the 400 block of South Euclid Street shortly before 10 p.m. and discovered a small fire outside one of the units, which was quickly extinguished, according to fire officials. A man was seen running from the location with extensive burns to his body, authorities said.

Several cans of butane gas were found in the back of one of the businesses, and it appeared someone was trying to extract honey oil from marijuana, Anaheim Fire and Rescue Capt. Mark Dunn told City News Service.

Investigators determined the explosion was caused when butane came in contact with an ignition source, according to the Anaheim Police Department.


Honey oil extraction is a volatile process in which gases are heated to extract THC, the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis.

Several containers with what appeared to be marijuana products were found inside the unit, video from the scene showed. Fire officials red-tagged the building.

Raul Molina, who owns a business inside the strip mall, said the explosion shook his store. When he looked outside, he saw a man running from the damaged unit with burns on his face, arms and legs, Molina said.

“We tried to stop him, but he didn’t want to,” the shop owner said.


Authorities are now seeking the man, identified as Frederic Tabora, 35, of Anaheim. Tabora was arrested after a similar drug lab explosion in 2016, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Anaheim Police Department at (714) 765-1900.

Twitter: @Hannahnfry

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