SISTERS, Ore. - (Update: Fire chief says butane hash oil lab found in home)
Evidence of a butane hash oil lab was found in a Cloverdale-area home heavily damaged by an explosion and fire Tuesday evening, the Cloverdale fire chief confirmed Wednesday.
However, Fire Chief Thad Olson said the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office, working with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police, has so far been unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the blaze, which caused an estimated $80,000 to the upper floor of a two-story home in 17000 block of Cascade Estates Drive.
They have determined the fire began in the area where evidence of a hash oil, or BHO, lab was found, Olsen said.
Sheriff's deputies confirmed Wednesday they are investigating the fire and said more information would be released later.
Hash oil, also known as "honey oil," is a super-concentrated form of THC, marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, and is made by using highly flammable materials, such as butane, to refine and concentrate the THC. Police said there has been a sharp rise in the number of BHO lab explosions in Oregon in recent years, coinciding with the legalization of recreational marijuana.
One such blast in a southwest Redmond home's garage last December seriously burned two people
Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District crews, joined by Sisters-Camp Sherman firefighters, were dispatched just before 5 p.m. Tuesday to the home on Cascade Estates Drive off U.S. Highway 20, Olsen said late Tuesday.
They arrived to find a fire burning on the second-floor exterior of the 2,200-square-foot house and extending into the attic, fanned by strong winds, Olsen said.
A neighbor who reported hearing an explosion noticed the fire and tried to put it out with a garden hose, the fire chief said, but it was too far involved by that time.
The rental home was occupied by several people, who had just left a short time earlier, the fire chief said.
Mutual-aid support was sought from the Crooked River Ranch and Bend fire departments to relieve fatigued crews, as the firefighting and mop-up had crews on scene for close to four hours.
Five engines, three water tenders and two brush trucks were called out while the Oregon Department of Forestry checked the area for any embers that could have sparked a wildfire, but that didn't occur.
Olsen estimated damage to the home at $80.000, with the second floor of the home, which he said was "pretty much destroyed." No firefighters were reported injured.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, with the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office joining the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office and Oregon State Police at the scene.