A 32-year-old man was facing a slew of charges Thursday after explosives, weapons and drugs were allegedly found in his Chula Vista apartment, where a fire that displaced about 20 residents broke out.
David Wasson, who initially gave officers a fake name, claimed his shirt caught fire while he was cooking in his second-floor unit at the Seawind Apartments at 1067 Fourth Ave. Monday afternoon. He said he inadvertently tossed the burning shirt onto some gasoline containers, then evacuated the apartment, according to a Chula Vista Police statement.
Neighbors saw a man later identified as Wasson running away from the building just before hearing explosions.
Firefighters evacuated the building — one of nine at the complex — while extinguishing the flames, Chula Vista Deputy Fire Chief Harry Muns said. Crews were able to confine the blaze to the apartment in which it erupted and had it out in about 10 minutes.
Police officers found Wasson shortly afterward suffering from burns. He was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine, heroin and ammunition at the time, and was also named in a no bail arrest warrant, police said.
Wasson was taken to a hospital along with a neighbor who sustained smoke inhalation while attempting to extinguish the fire, authorities said. Five people were evaluated at the scene for minor burns and respiratory complaints, Muns said.
Firefighters found “suspicious items” in the unit where the blaze erupted and summoned personnel from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, county Hazmat and the sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit. Police said a search of the apartment turned up Molotov cocktails, ammunition, gasoline, an improvised explosive device and homemade zip guns.
Wasson was subsequently booked into jail on suspicion of possession of destructive devices, possession of a zip gun, drug possession and other charges. Police said he was not believed to have been involved with a criminal or terrorist organization.
The fire caused about $225,000 in damage to the building.
— City News Service