Local News

Man charged in Raleigh home meth lab explosion

Posted August 9, 2012
Updated August 10, 2012

— Authorities said Friday the manufacture of methamphetamine sparked an explosion that rocked a north Raleigh home the night before.

The two-story house at 2708 Pidgeon Hill Road, off Ray Road, caught fire after the explosion on the second floor about 9:30 p.m. 

After putting out the fire, crews discovered hazardous materials on the second floor and pulled out of the house.

The homeowner, who was in the dwelling at the time of the incident, was arrested. Ralph Edward Bradsher, 48, was charged with a felony count of maintaining a dwelling with a controlled substance, according to the Wake County jail. He was held on a $25,000 secured bond.

Emergency crews decontaminated Bradsher immediately after the explosion, and he was seen lying on his front lawn.

There were no injuries reported and adjacent homes were not damaged, authorities said.

Bradsher faces up to 24 months in prison on the charge, and he is due in court against Aug. 29 on a previously scheduled probation violation.

Multiple agencies were called to the scene, including the State Bureau of Investigation. Authorities worked through the night and into Friday morning to investigate the cause of the explosion.

SBI agents spent the morning documenting the chemicals found in the house. They said a number of chemicals used in making methamphetamine were recovered. Cans of kerosene or cooking fuel could be seen in front of the home.

Raleigh police, which was among the first responders, on Friday released a recording of the 911 call made by a neighbor shortly before 9 p.m.

"It's the second time today there's been a loud, strong boom that shook my house," the person told the call-taker. The recording was redacted and altered to disguise the caller's voice, as required by state law.

Methamphetamine is a controlled substance with limited medical use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It increases feelings of pleasure in the brain, and chronic use can lead to impaired function.

A majority of meth is created in foreign and domestic labs using components found in cold medicine, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. The chemical process to "cook" it can be highly unstable, sparking explosions.

According to a 2009 national survey, more than 12 million Americans ages 12 or older reported using meth at least once in their lifetime. 


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  • wewoods Aug 15, 2012

    Is anyone reading the same reports that I am? What am I missing? or is everyone assuming what they read is the truth? Close minded brainwashed ignorant hypocrites. Where are the drugs or paraphernalia the police seized? He had a shed in his back yard, why in his own house? The fire was in the bathroom, not in the "lab" in the second bedroom, he was the only one home but lots of folks lived there, he wasn't burned/injured after an explosion, he doesn't even fit the profile, and no chemicals have been named.
    Bottom Line, the only act(s) of terror is this story, the time the courts will have to expel dropping the charges, and the money taxpayers will be paying to feed, clothe, wash, entertain and process this man.

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Aug 14, 2012

    Bottom Line, he blew up a home in a popular residential neighborhood that has many kids and families. This is an act of terror.

    25K bond means he is out on 2500.00. He blew up his house and put many folks in danger. Toss him in the pokey and throw away the key.

  • Bewitched Aug 13, 2012

    He looks like he could easily be on the show "Breaking Bad" lol.

  • Nancy Aug 10, 2012

    "There has got to be an island out there like Australia, was in the beginning, for a penal colony.......just move them there after sentencing."

    Alcatraz isn't being used ;) Would be a good use for it, but I'd save it for murderers first....

  • FE Aug 10, 2012

    "Dont have to. MDMA is found in the root bark of sasafras. Its a process to crystlize it but MDMA is in all types of foods you eat. MDMA is NATURAL" - jjordan

    You are so far off base it is shameful.

    The "natural" material found in sassafras is a material known as safrole. Safrole is a necessary starting precursor for the synthesis of MDMA. The synthetic hallucinogenic drug MDMA does have a structure somewhat related to safrole and somewhat related to methamphetamine, but that's where ANY similarity to those two separate drugs ends.

    You can consume a couple railroad cars of sassafras bark and never consume any MDMA, aka "ecstasy." For you to repeatedly state MDMA is a natural drug and apparently somehow OK to consume does shows a certain lack of knowledge (or perhaps naiveté) on the overall subject.

    BTW: You never did mention if you have a valid Schedule I DEA license to even possess MDMA in your business.


  • medicine woman2 Aug 10, 2012

    There has got to be an island out there like Australia, was in the beginning, for a penal colony.......just move them there after sentencing.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 10, 2012

    I say lock this man up in prison for a very long time. How does 60 years sound. When he get out, he will old and useless.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 10, 2012

    HIs punishment upon conviction should be to be put back into the home and then the home should be burnt down around him. This man is a killer and deserves to be treated as such.

  • beaulahjackson4 Aug 10, 2012

    godnessgracious - American is a quarter of the world, and we use 40% at least of legal drugs in the world. If they were to legalize meth, I am sure it wouldn't be free. Meth is so easy and cheap to make now. Legal drugs are damaging and have many fatal side affects as well. But their toxins in production are more contained(labs). My thought is make pseudoephedrine & ephedrine by prescription only as they once were, because the computer log of purchases of over the counter pseudopheds is obviously not working. Maybe it slowed some down, but meth is still being produced. Decrimalizing drugs is far different than legalizing drugs. People would find some way to make some new drug so they could skirt the $$ factor and most likely taxation of legalized drugs. In some states if you get caught selling weed you better have your tax id # stamped on the baggie or that's another charge.

  • BELLA28 Aug 10, 2012

    He was held on a $25k secure bond for drugs, but the walmart purse snatcher was held on a $1mil bond. Hmmm.