BRANDON -- An explosion and fire at a Brandon home has been linked to the production of illegal drugs, police say.
Firefighters were called to the fire, in the 600-block of 12th Street, early Tuesday morning. Neighbours say they heard a "distinctive whoomph" before the fire started, and damage to the back porch of the home was extensive.
Two men, one a 32-year-old who lived at the home, the other a 27-year-old visitor, were flown to Winnipeg hospital with serious burns, although their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. They remain hospitalized.
There is evidence, investigators say, of both an explosion and an electrical fault, although they aren't sure which one started first.
Although the exact cause of the fire is still being investigated, police say that people in the house were involved manufacturing illegal narcotics, which they described as marijuana derivatives of some type.
The house has previously been linked to gang-related activities. It was one of several targeted in a July 2010 shooting spree, and a police raid at the home that same month seized four small-calibre firearms, ammunition and two pellet guns — including at least one gun disguised as a pen but capable of firing a single .22-calibre bullet.
Police say charges regarding the manufacturing of narcotics are pending.
-- Brandon Sun