Marijuana oil lab explosion leaves three burned; second drug explosion this month

Three men who police said were illegally extracting oil from marijuana were burned Thursday in an explosion at their trailer off Rock Creek Road in the Keswick area. Crews with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were dispatched to the 15000 block of Rock Creek Road just before 5 p.m. after a report of the fire in the fifth-wheel trailer. Firefighters quickly put out the blaze that destroyed the trailer and a nearby vehicle, said Sgt. Les James of the Shasta Interagency Narcotic Task Force. James said fire investigators believed the fire was caused by criminal activity and deputies initially thought the trailer was a methamphetamine lab, according to Shasta County sheriff’s call logs. SINTF investigators later determined the fire started because the men were using a highly flammable solvent to convert marijuana into “hash oil,” James said. Vapors from the solvent caught fire from a pilot light in the trailer, causing the explosion. The oil has many uses, but using chemicals to manufacture it is illegal “obviously because of what happened,” James said. “They put it in cigarettes, smoke it,” he said. “There are so many different recipes or uses out there.” Neighbors told SINTF agents that three people burned in the fire left for an area hospital, James said. Deputies later caught up with 35-year-old Kenneth Neil Dolan of Redding, 42-year-old Brian James Fleischauer of Anderson, and 19-year-old Jacob Lee Clements of Shasta at the hospital.

Dolan was treated and released for burns to his lower legs. Clements suffered burns on his legs and arms. Fleischauer suffered burns to his head, back and both arms. Fleischauer was taken to UC Davis Medical Center for further treatment, where he was listed in serious condition Friday, a hospital representative said. None of the men was arrested, and James said the case is still under investigation. “We’ll probably go with a complaint on all three … right now the medical treatment is probably more important,” James said. It’s the second fire this month caused by illegal drug manufacturing. A makeshift meth lab blew up inside a first-floor unit of the complex at Orange Avenue and Tehama Street in Redding early May 2, police have said. Officers contacted two people near the apartment, while a third apparently ran off. Two men in that explosion were taken to UC Davis Medical Center while a woman who wasn’t injured was arrested on unrelated charges and later released. Justin Pace, 27, of Redding remains in critical condition Friday after suffering serious burns in the May 2 explosion, a UC Davis representative said. Anthony Michael Newell, 30, of Alturas who evaded police for five days before seeking treatment, was released within the past 10 days, the representative said. James said criminal charges against Newell and Alicia Marie Allison, 24, who also was at the apartment, will likely be filed soon. Pace won’t yet be charged because he’s still in the hospital, James said.

via : Redding

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