‘Hash oil’ cook explodes in apartment

Officials say 10 persons, including three children, were at home at the time of the fiery blast in Parkrose …

Portland Fire & Rescue Parkrose Station Truck 2 is one of the first units at the scene of the powerful explosion and fire.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

An apartment exploded in flames on March 7, at about 6:30 p.m., at 4726 NE 111th Avenue – a half block south of NE Sandy Boulevard.

Darrell Thompson, a resident of the apartment complex that looked as if it once was a motel, told reporters that he heard a “really big explosion” – which caused him grab a fire extinguisher and head to the rear of the complex.

“I saw fire shoot out from under the eaves,” Thompson said. “The room was fully engulfed in flames when I went in.”

In one of the rear housing units, a detonation, said to be caused by a “hash oil cook”, started the fire.

“When crews got there, they found that the explosion had started fires inside and outside the house,” said Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Lt. Rich Tyler. “Crews were able to quickly put out the fires, and searched the home for occupants.”

At the time of the big blast, up to ten occupants may have been in the home, with three of those occupants being less than six years old, Tyler revealed.

“One occupant had to be escorted out of the home, but there were no injuries.”

These cans of butane, found at the scene, were allegedly used in the illegal “hash oil cook” that went awry.

Reports indicate that the individual cooking the hash oil ran from the scene before emergency responders arrived.

If hash oil extraction is done wrong, the process can cause a fireball or a flash fire powerful enough to blow out windows and doors, as happened during this instance.

“The Arson Squad has stated that there are early indications that the cause of this fire is a butane ‘hash oil’ explosion,” Tyler said. “The house had minor structural damage due to the explosion. The investigation is ongoing and more information will be shared as it becomes available.”

After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters start putting away their gear.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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