A marijuana operation sparked an explosion that destroyed a southeast Fresno home late Friday night and severely burned two teens.
The “honey oil” operation, a process of extracting THC, the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, from the stems of plants, was happening in a room of a single-story home located on the 2000 block of South Fifth Street when the explosion occurred just before midnight.
Pete Martinez, spokesman for the Fresno Fire Department, said two teens inside the home had second- and third- degree burns over most of their bodies. They were transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. A mother and her teenage son, also inside the home, were not injured.
Fresno police Lt. Phil Cooley said the two injured, ages 17 and 19 and were not named, are the only suspects in the honey oil operation. The 17-year-old was in critical condition and the 19-year-old in stable condition on Friday night.
Cooley said the older teen told officers he was making honey oil when his younger brother flicked a lighter inside the home, which caused the explosion. Their clothes caught fire and were extinguished by neighbors, Cooley said. Police continue to investigate the incident.
The force of the explosion blew out two of the home’s walls and pushed two other walls about six inches from their original position, Martinez said, causing about $70,000 in damage. Martinez said when firefighters arrived, there was only a small, smoldering fire in the home’s attic that was easily extinguished.
Honey oil operations in Fresno decreased toward the end of 2014, Martinez said, but firefighters responded to many explosions caused by these cooking labs last summer and in 2013 — a number of them causing serious injuries. Saturday’s explosion was the first incident Fresno firefighters responded to this year involving a honey oil operation.
“That kind of activity is very dangerous and hazardous to your house,” Martinez warned of these marijuana operations.