MERCED, Calif. (KGPE) – Neighbors gathered to watch after a house exploded in Merced.
It happened around 8:20 a.m. at Colma and Derby. Police believe it was caused by a honey oil operation.
Viewer video showed the aftermath as the house went up in flames and several more bangs were heard.
“I come out, turn the corner, the whole things in flames, the cars being lit by flames and if you look you can actually see the window shattered,” Landon Lynch said.
People living in the area said the explosion could be felt for blocks.
“I heard a very large bang and I was thinking is that someone else in my house hitting a wall, or did neighbors throw a basketball, or was it an earthquake?” a neighbor who did not want to be identified said.
Crews said when they arrived on the scene a man was outside severely burned. He was airlifted to a burn unit in critical condition.
Officers found a large amount of marijuana inside the home. They said they’re still working to determine who else lives there and have not made any arrests yet.
The force of the blast broke windows in nearby houses which were also damaged by the flames. But Battalion Chief Shawn Luce said he’s happy it wasn’t worse.
“Thankfully there weren’t kids in the backyards, right? The potential is quite extreme, you’ve seen some of the debris and stuff. It could have been a lot worse. So we were very lucky,” he said.
Police plan on patrolling throughout the night Monday and Tuesday the fire department will be back to knock over what’s left of the house.