Officials: Ypsilanti Township house explosion could have been drug-related
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- Updated story: Massive amounts of butane, assault rifle and pit bull discovered in debris of exploded house
- Previous coverage: Authorities: Water heater likely the cause of house explosion
- Previous coverage: Fire crews investigating house explosion in Ypsilanti Township
The Ypsilanti Township house that exploded Sunday was scheduled to be raided Monday as part of an investigation into a vast marijuana growing operation, police said.
"We never had the chance because the house blew up," said Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police.
Ypsilanti Township Fire Marshal Vic Chevrette confirmed Monday afternoon that investigators were trying to determine if butane buildup associated with growing marijuana at the home had anything to do with the explosion.
“That has not been determined yet,” he said. “It could very well be.”
Shaw said evidence found in the house after the explosion leads officials to believe the explosion and subsequent fire could be caused by the butane.
The house was one of 22 locations in Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw and Jackson Counties where search warrants were set to be executed, according to a release from state police.
Chevrette said Monday morning that a man trying to relight a water heater initiated the blast. Shaw could not confirm if the man, who was seen running from the home in the 1300 block of Gattegno Street, will face criminal charges.
Officials said the man remains in the University of Michigan Burn Unit.
State police continued with the execution of all the other search warrants Monday morning, seizing over 500 marijuana plants, a large quantity of processed marijuana and several weapons, according to state police. Several individuals were also taken into custody.
The raids were the culmination of a seven-month investigation into marijuana trafficking. The locations raided included several private businesses, homes and four warehouses.
Shaw said the operation involved growing and distributing marijuana all throughout southeast Michigan.
Charges will be submitted to the state attorney general's office for authorization. State police and the Western Wayne Narcotics team (WWN) conducted the raids in conjunction with several federal, county and local agencies, according to the release.