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Westminster homes evacuated in explosives investigation

April 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Residences on the 15300 block of Vermont Street in Westminster were evacuated Tuesday after a house caught fire in what was reported as an explosion.

A caller reported an explosion or house fire at a residence at about 4 p.m. Orange County Fire Authority personnel responded and found a man in his late 40s unconscious inside. A fire was still burning in the garage when firefighters arrived.

"I came outside to see what was going on, and there was smoke and flames pouring out of the garage there," said neighbor Don Graham. "The explosion was extremely strong. It rocked this house pretty good."

The man, identified by neighbors as 45-year-old Michael Parr, had burns to his hands and face. He was hospitalized at the UC Irvine Burn Center with 2nd- and 3rd-degree burns to his hands and body. He was in stable condition.

Police were summoned by firefighters. Police discovered explosive-making materials as well as an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine on the property. A bomb squad confirmed the materials were for explosives. It appears the explosives are related to pyrotechnics and Parr was manufacturing his own fireworks inside the house.

Neighbors said Parr is a roofer by trade. Some said they had heard loud explosions in the past.

Several adjacent residences were evacuated as a precaution during the investigation.

Authorities said it is a felony to possess or manufacture explosives in your home. Parr faces charges of possession of explosive-making materials and possession of a controlled substance for sale.


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