SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – From a hospital bed to a jail cell, a Sacramento couple has landed behind bars one month after their apartment exploded with their children inside.
Neighbors say the couple was running out of the apartment screaming, while their two small children begged neighbors to help.
“Some kind of tank, and it blew up in his face because he had a lighter in his hand,” said neighbor Betty Perez.
Shawnpeter Stachelrodt and Tonia Bushta are both in jail, more than a month after the violent explosion at their Walnut Avenue apartment complex rattled windows and nerves.
“He was doing some sort of crystal meth, or something, he was burning it,” said Betty.
Investigators say the couple was cooking meth, with their two small children inside, when the explosion occurred.
Betty says she and her husband were startled after seeing two kids running from the burning apartment.
“Kids screaming, running out of the house, saying ‘my house is on fire.’ It was horrible,” she said.
The children escaped the flames, but their parents weren’t as lucky.
“His face, his legs, second-degree burns. He was crying all night. It was horrible,” said Betty.
Initially, the couple was hospitalized and not arrested. Investigators thought they were making honey oil.
“But that wasn’t true; that wasn’t true,” said neighbor John Perez.
Within days, everything changed. After being discharged from the hospital over the weekend, Stachelrodt and Bushta were immediately arrested and their children were taken into protective custody.
“There was no damage to my apartment, thank god, but it was scary,” said neighbor Desire Schneider.
Witnesses say another neighbor grabbed a fire extinguisher and saved the day.
“He is a hero. He saved us all,” said Betty.
The suspects are still at Sacramento County Jail. CBS13 reached out to them but the two refused to talk.
The couple is facing arson and child endangerment charges.
Their children are staying with relatives.
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