Feb 14, 2023 - News

Deadly explosion in the Sunset District raises safety concerns

Fire crew dig through burned down house

Fire crews at the scene of Thursday's fatal explosion. Photo: Courtesy of the SF Fire Department

Following the deadly explosion that rocked a sleepy residential street in the Sunset District late last week, city officials are saying San Francisco's drug crisis is showing yet another dangerous side.

Catch up quick: Thursday's explosion and subsequent fire on 22nd Avenue led to the death of one person and left another seriously burned.

  • Several homes were damaged, including one that burned to the ground and at least two others that are uninhabitable.
  • Investigators said "an active illegal narcotics manufacturing lab" was in the residence where the explosion occurred.
  • On Friday, police arrested a 53-year-old San Francisco man on suspicion of manslaughter, child endangerment and manufacturing narcotics.

Why it matters: Preliminary data shows 620 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco last year.

  • While most of these deaths involved fentanyl, last week's explosion in the Sunset was a reminder that the dangers of the drug epidemic are multifaceted and can pop up in unlikely places.

What they're saying: Supervisor Joel Engardio, who represents the area, told The SF Standard that "it's hard to say how widespread drug manufacturing is in residential neighborhoods, but the explosion on a quiet Sunset street means it could be anywhere."

  • On Twitter, Engardio said that drug manufacturing, like open-air fentanyl dealing, should be prosecuted in San Francisco.

Details: Officials have yet to publicly identify the woman found dead inside the leveled home, nor have they released what her relationship was to Darron Price, the man arrested in connection to the incident.

  • The two children who lived at the residence were not home at the time of the explosion and their current whereabouts are unknown, the Chronicle reported.
  • Investigators reportedly found barrels, cylinders and 50-gallon drums among the blackened debris.
  • Windows blew out in homes across the street and residents near Ocean Beach, some 20 blocks away, said they could hear the blast.

What's next: Engardio is holding a town hall meeting Wednesday for nearby residents.

  • Engardio said he'll host a larger town hall on the topic of public safety in March.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove mention of a PCP-manufacturing charge against the suspect that the Sheriff’s Department has said was listed in error and blamed on “a computer glitch.”


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