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Manslaughter, abuse charges expected in SF’s suspected drug lab explosion

The San Francisco Fire Department spray water into the home that collapsed possibly as a result of an explosion and subsequent fire. | Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

A man arrested after an Outer Sunset house explosion is set to be charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter over a blast that authorities say was caused by an illegal hash oil and PCP operation.

Darron Price, 53, also faces a charge each of manufacturing a controlled substance and elder abuse in the Feb. 9 blast, as well as four counts of reckless burning and two of child endangerment, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office announced ahead of his afternoon arraignment.

The explosion earlier this month completely collapsed the 22nd Avenue home and ignited a fire that spread to a couple of neighboring buildings and left one person seriously burned, officials said.

Price was arrested a day later in the investigation led by the San Francisco Fire Department's Arson Task Force with help from SFPD's narcotics unit.

While sifting through the rubble, investigators say they found a woman's corpse as well as butane tanks, ovens and, per the DA, "other materials consistent with processing hash oil with volatile solvents."

A jar of suspected hash oil unearthed in the wreckage was found in a crime lab test to contain acetone and other dangerous and highly flammable solvents, according to the DA's Office.

The city's top prosecutor said her office will support the Outer Sunset neighborhood as it rebuilds—and that the charges signal the gravity of what happened.

"As the Outer Sunset neighborhood works to rebuild following last week's sudden explosion, we will join their efforts by standing with the victims and the community in seeking justice," DA Brooke Jenkins said in a news release. "We must send a clear message that the manufacture of dangerous drugs will not be tolerated in San Francisco; this activity is not only dangerous for the individuals involved but entire neighborhoods as this case so tragically demonstrates."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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