Cathedral City firefighters are continuing the investigation of a duplex fire. Fire crews believe it started because of an illegal drug lab.
Neighbors said it started with a few booms.
"I heard what sounded like a big boom, and a few seconds later i heard another boom," said Robert Suff who lives across the street from the house that went up in flames on Aurora Vista Road.
"I come outside and there's big flames over the roof," he said.
Cathedral City Fire Fighters responded to the fire around 9:15 pm Thursday night. Fire crews and neighbors helped rescue an elderly woman in the unit next door, but that's not all.
"They got the lady out. So finally the lady comes and she goes, 'My dogs, my dogs," said Rick Chapel, another neighbor.
Fortunately no one was injured in the fire, but fire fighters say the cause of it is concerning.
"The cause of the fire appears to have been a marijuana processing or a honey oil operation that probably blew up in the kitchen family room area," said Battalion Chief Robert Allison with the Cathedral City Fire Department.
Allison said the dead give away of the illegal drug lab is the butane cans.
"The butane canisters that are used in the process, that were shooting off like rockets. We had probably half a dozen of them stuck in the wall across the living room where the guys were making the attack," he said.
Neighbors said they knew something was suspicious when the people inside the burning apartment took off.
"When you hear boom, boom, boom, you know something blew up, and when you're house is on fire and you jump in the car, and take off and leave it on fire... leave your two dogs running around the street, well you know you're guilty of something," said Chapel.
Some neighbors are on edge that an illegal drug lab was operating across the street.
"Especially the way it was exploding when the fire was there. Imagine if my kids were just playing and then everything just starts exploding. That's scary," said Jessy Montano.
The Cathedral City Police Department and the Gang Task Force are also investigating the fire.
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Palm Desert, California 92260
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