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John Blanchard Sentenced For Starting Fire With Blowtorch, Meth And Gunpowder

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Joel Blanchard, the 65-year-old man who started a fire while smoking meth with a blowtorch near a container of gunpowder that he had been stockpiling, was slapped with 45 days in jail on Monday, SFGate reports.

On October 1, police responded to a fire in a coastal storage yard near Half Moon Bay, where they found Blanchard living illegally in a camper near the fire. Investigators determined that Blanchard had used a malfunctioning propane torch to smoke methamphetamine, and then left the torch burning unattended, causing the container of gunpowder to explode. Besides the blowtorch and the gunpowder, investigators also found a loaded gun and 300 feet of detonation cord.

According to The Daily Journal:

Blanchard was arrested for being under the influence of methamphetamine, negligently starting a fire, being a felon in possession of a loaded firearm and being in possession of over a pound of explosive detonation cord.

The San Mateo Daily Journal reported in October that Blanchard is an ex-felon. On Monday, Blanchard pleaded no contest to the drugs and weapons violation, granting him 45 days in jail, as well as three years of probation.

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Filed by Robin Wilkey