Grants Pass, Ore. — NBC5 News first told you about a garage and shed fire on Wednesday that sent a man to the hospital. That fire was the third butane honey oil-related incident Grants Pass Department of Public Safety has seen in recent months. And it’s just one incident that shows how dangerous the illegal activity can be.
“With the increased use in marijuana in the southern Oregon area, we are starting to see people who are actually trying to extract the THC out of the marijuana and creating a honey oil,” said Division Chief Austin Prince, Rural Metro Fire.
Concentration levels in BHO can be up to 90% – as high as that number sounds, creating the product might not be worth the risk.
“The dangers are actually to the people doing the production – more so than the firefighters,” Prince said.
Firefighters deal with the fiery aftermath, people extracting marijuana oil are the ones hurt by explosions.
“What we’re finding is processing measures have been a little bit of explosive and creating another layer of hazard to people who do that operation,” Prince said.
Wednesday’s incident on Clyde Place was the third BHO incident in Grants Pass in just over a year. There was also an incident in February 2016 on Lewis Avenue and another on Burgess Street in May. Additionally, according to GPDPS – a 26-year-old man died in February from fumes after trying to make BHO in his bathroom.
“A lot of times, they’re in an enclosed area – like inside of a garage or a house, or even a bedroom. So the butane that’s being used in the process can a lot of times fill up that particular area. And the smaller the area, the more concentrated it is,” Prince said.
That’s what leads to life-threatening accidents.
“All it takes is just a small spark and you have an explosion or fire,” Prince said.
Grants pass isn’t the only area seeing BHO incidents. Other Rogue Valley cities, including Medford and Ashland, are seeing the same incidents.
Manufacturing marijuana extract without a license is illegal in the state of Oregon. If caught, you could be facing a Class A misdemeanor, a Class B felony, or if you cause a fire while making the extract – you could face arson charges.
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