It’s the only hash oil explosion case officials know of locally as well as statewide, but the blasts aren’t uncommon nationally: A Wednesday explosion at a San Diego hotel that injured three has been attributed to hash oil, along with an apartment explosion in Hollywood that injured one person earlier this month, and one in San Francisco that injured two people last year.
All three men were severely burned in the May 8 explosion of a two-story house on Clark Street, on Lansing’s east side. They have since been released from the hospital, and no criminal charges are expected, said Lansing Fire Marshall Brad Drury.
Hash oil is a solution created by extracting components from marijuana, including THC. It has similar effects to marijuana after ingestion.
He could not comment on whether the men had medical marijuana cards due to privacy laws, and said the men, two of whom were from Indiana and one from Iowa, have all moved out of state, he said.
“We believe the fire was accidental,” he said. “A flammable vapor that was believed to be being used in a process to manufacture hemp oil, and the flammable vapor being heavier than air, was ignited by the furnace in the home.”
Drury said a bigger issue for local fire departments are electrical fires caused by marijuana grow operations which seem to be on the rise since medical marijuana was legalized in 2008.
“We’ve had numerous electrical fires related to marijuana grow operations,” Drury said. “I’ve seen (the number) increase over the last few years with grow operations and fires related to it.”
He said data was not available that specifically showed which electrical fires were caused by overloaded outlets due to grow operations.
David Purchase, president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs and fire chief of Norton Shores, located near Muskegon, said he hasn’t heard of issues related to medical marijuana and an increase in fires.
But as fire chief he oversees the building department and says issues have arisen from changes to electrical wiring without the proper permits.
“We had one grow operation where the gentleman installed a bunch of grow lights, and he had an electrician put in a separate panel,” Purchase said. “We had to catch him up on permits and everything after the fact.”
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