Pot Chemists: The Growing Trend Linked To Four Fresno Explosions

Fresno firefighters call it a disturbing trend.

Pot growers are refining oil out of pot plant stalks in a process called producing honey oil or hash oil. But more than once, the process has caused an explosion.{}{}

The process involves stuffing a PVC pipe with finely chopped pot. Then butane is used to make it condense and bring out the oil in the plant.

There have been four so called honey oil fires in Fresno in recent months. The latest took place Tuesday at an apartment complex in northwest Fresno.

"The butane, as it condenses, obviously it's flammable," said Fresno Fire Captain Steve Beyers.{} "You're in a confined space and it's gonna seek out any type of ignition source."

Don Mac Alpine, a fire marshal, said these types of fires put firefighters at a greater risk because, "unlike many accidental fires this fire starts very quickly and very violently."

Mac Alpine says after each explosion, neighbors told investigators their noses detected unusual smells, but they didn't want to get involved.

Mac Alpine said people must get involved to prevent instances such as these.

"A simple phone call to either the police or fire department until they're satisfied it's been investigated would go a long way," he said.{}{}