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Second suspect charged after summer fire linked to drugs

An official from the Office of the Fire Commissioner surveys the damage after a fire broke out inside a back porch attached to a house on the 600-block of 12th Street last summer.

LINDSEY ENNS/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

An official from the Office of the Fire Commissioner surveys the damage after a fire broke out inside a back porch attached to a house on the 600-block of 12th Street last summer.

Brandon police have laid new charges stemming from an explosion and fire at a home last summer that has been linked to drug production.

Police and firefighters were originally called to the 12th Street home in early July 2013, after an early-morning fire that neighbours said had been preceeded by an explosion.

Two men, occupants of the home, were injured in the blast and subsequent fire, and needed treatment for their burns in Winnipeg. The fire also caused extensive damage to the building.

Police say that marijuana resin was being produced inside the home — a volatile process. A later search of the home turned up more than 100 grams of marijuana, compressed gases, pressure containers, resin itself and evidence of resin production.

Investigators say the explosion was likely caused by sparks and electrical arcing from an overloaded circuit, which ignited gasses, and was a direct result of the drug production.

A 32-year-old man who was a resident of the house and was injured in the fire was charged in August. His case remains before the courts.

Now, after further investigation and consultation with the Department of Justice, the second man who was injured at the scene has also been charged. He has been released from custody with a court date in April, where he will face charges of arson by negligence and production of cannabis resin.

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