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The Madera Tribune

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‘Honey Oil’ lab explosion blows rear wall from kitchen

February 21, 2019

The Madera Tribune

The back section of this house was ripped from the dwelling’s foundations by a honey oil lab explosion Saturday on Madera’s east side.

A home in the 700 block of Vineyard Avenue was damaged by an explosion from a honey oil lab Saturday night, according to the Madera police department. 

 

Such labs  are illegal, and are used to refine marijuana into THC, or tetrahydricannabinol, the active chemical in marijuana.

 

The making of honey oil is explosive, due to the use of butane or other solvents to extract the drug.

 

The 23-year-old resident of the house was alone at the time, and sustained burns to his face and arms. He was taken to an area hospital where he remains as of Monday, according to police. His name is not being released pending the ongoing investigation. No other injuries were reported. 

EMS and firefighters initially thought they were responding to a small kitchen fire, according to Madera police Sgt. Mark Trukki.

 

“It was discovered then that the 23-year-old male who resides in the home was operating a small honey oil lab in the kitchen and bathroom areas which resulted in the explosion. It appears the butane gas being used ignited, from either a pilot light or stovetop flame, which resulted in the explosion, causing a small fire,” Trukki said.

 

The back walls of the kitchen and bathroom areas of the home were blown away from the foundation about a foot from the force of the blast, according to officers, likely contaminating the home and rendering it unsafe for habitation. 

 

Trukki said officers from MADNET, the Madera County Narcotics Enforcement Team, then responded to the explosion scene and executed a search warrant for the residence, confirming the presence of the drug distillation lab.

 

Several children’s toys could be seen left about the yard. Trukki said ”As we continue the investigation we are looking into (the possibility of) any children living in the residence and the case was also cross-reported to CPS. ” 

 

Police request anyone noticing suspicious activities, or large or unusual quantities of butane or gas bottles at any residence is asked to report it to authorities right away. 

 

Hazardous chemicals used in drug labs can explode, contaminate, or burn large areas around them, they said.  

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