Investigators offer closer look at hash oil gear that led to dea - KPTV - FOX 12

Investigators offer closer look at hash oil gear that led to deadly fire

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Arson investigators believe butane concentrations from hash oil production caused a deadly fire in Portland Monday, calling it was the latest example of the dangers of this kind of illegal operation.

Police believe 42-year-old Matthew McCrann was producing hash oil in order to sell it, and on Monday afternoon, the volatile substance exploded in his home on North Kerby Avenue.

The blast leveled McCrann’s house and killed both him and a contracted worker who was inside his home at the time. Officers said that the worker, 68-year-old Richard Cisler, was not involved with the hash oil production.

Investigators collected huge trash bags filled with canisters of butane gas and other items used to extract oils out of leftover marijuana leaves from the scene.

Portland Police Bureau arson investigator Joe Luiz said dangerous extraction operation McCrann had in his home was illegal, an activity becoming more popular as demand for the hash oil continues to climb.

Luiz also said he is very familiar with the damaging effects these labs can have, though the scope of this explosion took him by surprise.

“We’ve been going around the state and studying the process, how bad it is and how dangerous it is to the public,” he explained. “I’ve never seen one this bad. This is a huge explosion.”

Officials said the sales of the butane cans have exploded in recent years. Anyone can buy them online or walk into a hardware store and pick up a can.

Luiz said the popularity of hash oil products combined with the low number of state-licensed facility legally producing the oils has led to high demand for the product in illegal markets.

Oregon recently passed a law making it a felony to cause a fire or explosion while extracting marijuana, meaning those who are making illegally making hash oil could now face even more serious consequences in court.

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