Code enforcement officers and utility workers were at it all day Thursday to make the necessary repairs to a Rancho Cordova apartment complex after a drug lab explosion Wednesday night.
More than a 100 people were displaced and two people were hospitalized because of the blast, which happened around 5:30 p.m. at the Rancho Terrace Apartments on Mills Tower Drive near Mills Park. By Thursday evening, crews were able to restore power to the building as some residents started returning home.
One look at the outside of the building was a powerful reminder of how much damage a small drug lab can do. From the outside, it looks like a bomb detonated inside the bathroom of one of the corner units, instead of a drug lab.
Martha Robichaw lives right next door to the unit and is grateful that she and her four children weren't home when the drug lab exploded.
"It could have killed me and my whole family, my kids everybody," Robichaw said.
"It was horrible. It was a nightmare," said Tenant Lanita Placido.
For hours after the blast, tenants didn't know what had happened to rock the 56-unit building. When investigators discovered that a conversion lab designed to extract honey oil from marijuana was the cause of the explosion, residents' confusion turned to anger.
"I was mad, really mad," Robinchaw said. "I'm pissed off."
"Y'all jeopardized the kids, my family, everybody's family that's in this apartment building," Darrell Sanders added when asked what he would say to those responsible.
Sanders and other tenants were allowed briefly into their apartments to gather belongings. Investigators have not released the names of the two suspects injured in the explosion, but family and friends identify one of the victims as 25-year-old Tyree Davis.
"They've got both of them in a coma, and Tyree is, she said, 46 to 56 percent completely 3rd-degree burned, his face, his ears, his hands, his legs," said family friend Charles Burns after speaking to the victim's family.
Burns said he doesn't know the second suspect, but he doesn't believe Davis would have been behind the drug lab.
"I just feel like he was at the wrong place at the wrong time," Burns said. "I feel like when the explosion happened, I don't think he knew what was coming."
According to apartment manager Amanda Torres, Davis was visiting his sister in one of the units. The other suspect was visiting the tenant in Unit 16, where investigators said the drug lab was. That tenant was not home at the time of the blast.
Investigators would only say they don't expect to make any immediate arrests because the two suspects have not been able to talk due to significant injuries.
In the meantime, a Red Cross shelter is available for those like Robichaw, who said she's just happy to be alive.
"I'm just fortunate, and I appreciate the fact that I'm here and I'm able to speak to you about this right now," Robichaw said.