A call to dispatch from a resident who lives south of Rockford said their "house shook" after an apparent methamphetamine lab exploded near New Milford.

According to the press release from the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded with the Blackhawk Fire Department for a fire in an attached garage at a residence in the 6900 block of Vesta Drive after a "boom" was heard in the area.

When Winnebago County Sheriff deputies arrived on the scene they discovered the garage door "off the tracks and bowed outward," and were able to make contact with the owner of the home who was inside the residence with face and body burns, according to the press release.

The homeowner identified as 52-year-old Stephen Maroda of Rockford was taken to a local hospital and treated for his injuries

During an investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshal, it was determined the explosion was caused by the "production of methamphetamine."

The ATF, Winnebago County Narcotics Unit, and the ISP Zone 2 Meth Response Team were called to the scene of the explosion where during their investigation found items inside the garage "consistent with a meth manufacturing operation," according to the press release.

Stephen Maroda was arrested on March 1, 2023 and charged with the following:

  • 1 count- manufacture methamphetamine/<15 grams (Class 1 felony)
  • 1 count- unlawful possession of methamphetamine precursors (Class 1 felony)
  • 1 count- aggravated unlawful participation in methamphetamine production (Class X felony)

The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office said in the press release that the "charges against Stephen Maroda are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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