3 people seriously injured in Astle Street blast
A house explosion that injured three people in Tewksbury on Tuesday night has been blamed on a drug operation involving marijuana and butane.
An 18-year-old woman and two men, ages 20 and 21, were inside the multi-family home at 22 Astle St. Tuesday night when the building exploded and caught on fire.
Fire officials confirmed Wednesday that someone in the home was trying to extract THC from marijuana when an ignition source came in contact with vapors, causing the explosion.
“The buildup of butane vapors within the apartment came in contact with an ignition source and an explosion ensued,” Tewksbury Fire Chief Michael Hazel said. “The process was being performed on and around an electric stove within the apartment. A number of full and empty and butane cylinders were found at the scene. This was a very dangerous situation for the residents and the firefighters.”
All three victims suffered serious injuries.
“There are burns about the face, head, arms and hands,” Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan said.
Police are investigating reports that two people were seen running from the home after the explosion.
The home has natural gas service, but investigators have ruled it out, saying it was not the cause of the fire.
“There’s going to be no one going back in the dwelling afterward. All the windows are blown off the frame, and the roof collapsed. The fire spread to the attic of the residence,” Sheehan said.
Six people, including the three victims, were displaced.