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Incident sets Manteca apartment unit on fire, leads to man’s arrest
Manteca Fire Department officials inspect an apartment building in the 600 block of Stewart Street where an explosion was reported just before 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

An explosion rocked a quiet Manteca street Monday afternoon and prompted a response by the Manteca Police and Fire Departments who determined that an illegal drug manufacturing process was the cause. 

The Manteca Fire Department responded to reports of explosion on the 600 block of Stewart Street on Monday just before 4:30 p.m. and arrived to search the apartment building for any signs of damage or ongoing fire. During the search they found materials they believed to be consistent with a honey oil manufacturing lab – where chemicals are used to extract the THC from marijuana to create a waxy or oil-like substance that is hyper-concentrated – and contact the Manteca Police Department for further investigation. 

Officers determined that the occupant of the apartment where the explosion was reported was in fact manufacturing an illegal substance and took the person into custody. 

Christopher Paradela, 30, was arrested and charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance and setting fire to an occupied dwelling – both of which are felonies. He was also charged with the illegal cultivation of marijuana, a misdemeanor. 

According to a Manteca Police official, the damage to the apartment in question was minor compared to previous cases where a malfunction has led to an explosion. Because flammable gasses are used in the extraction process to create the substance that the suspect was manufacturing on Monday, the gasses – which are heavier than air – can settle and when met with an ignition source like an open flame or a spark can create an explosion. 

Earlier this summer an explosion at a home near a Modesto elementary school damaged multiple nearby homes. And last year a tony home in Stockton’s exclusive Brookside gated community was severely damaged when a hash oil explosion in the garage sent both men working there to the hospital in critical condition. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.