Deputies: Rockford garage fire caused by meth lab explosion

Man charged with possession and manufacturing methamphetamine.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 3:26 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - What started as a garage fire turned into a drug investigation according to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

Just after 2:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, emergency crews responded to the 6900 block of Vesta Drive for reports of an attached garage on fire. When they arrived, they found 52-year-old Stephen Maroda suffering from burns on his face and body.

The person who called 9-1-1 told the dispatcher they heard a “loud boom” and “their house shook.”

When the Illinois State Fire Marshal investigated the scene, they determined that the production of methamphetamines caused the explosion. Inside the garage were biohazardous materials used in meth manufacturing.

Maroda was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and later arrested.