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Drug lab explosion displaces neighbors

A butane fire in a garage drug lab on Thursday reportedly caused an explosion and blaze that destroyed this garage and attached house in Parkwood. A neighboring house, in which some 18 people reportedly were living, also was damaged. (Chuck Doud)


A butane explosion in the Parkwood area of Madera has left more than a dozen people displaced. According to Madera County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Bill Ward, the house, located in the 27000 block of Stanford Avenue, caught fire when a butane honey oil lab exploded Thursday morning.

Butane honey oil, or hash oil, is a highly concentrated substance made by burning marijuana with butane gas, creating a honey-like resin that is rich in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. This results in a more potent substance that leads to a stronger intoxication by the user.

“We’re not seeing many meth labs at all anymore, but the honey oil labs are becoming more prevalent,” Ward said. “And are causing explosions and fires just like the meth labs were.”

According to authorities, the fire caused half of the house where the fire started to burn down, or be severely damaged, while a quarter of the house next door was damaged. The fire reportedly displaced the people in the neighboring house, 18 in total.

They have since been helped by the Red Cross.

No injuries were reported in the explosion or ensuing fires.


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