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Butane blast sends 1 to hospital, 1 to jail

Honey oil lab arrests follow Foresthill explosion
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Placer County Sheriff’s Office image

This Foresthill building was the scene of an explosion earlier this month that investigators are linking to butane honey oil manufacture.  

One man went to hospital and another to jail after an explosion in Foresthill at what the Placer County Sheriff’s Office says was a butane honey oil drug lab.

The explosion rocked the 5100-block of Finning Mill Road, originating in a shed covered with galvanized metal roofing material.

The explosion and subsequent fire led to severe burn injuries to one of the men involved. He was airlifted to the University of California, Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, the Sheriff's Office reported today.

The other man was seen in an image from the Sheriff's Office being led away in handcuffs from the blast scene with no apparent burn marks and awkwardly puffing on a cigar. He was booked into Placer County Jail in North Auburn on suspicion of manufacturing illegal butane honey oil from cannabis and maintaining a drug house.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said that because butane used in the honey oil manufacturing process is heavier than air it can pool near the floor and be sparked into an explosion by actions as normally benign as turning on a ceiling fan or flipping a light switch.

It’s been more than a year since the Sheriff’s Office investigated a butane honey oil lab explosion, a spokeswoman said.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking members of the public to alert authorities if they notice an unusual amount of butane cans at a neighboring property.

At press deadline, the two men involved in the explosion had not been identified by name.