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Indoor marijuana labs causing lethal explosions across the country

October 2, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Indoor marijuana labs causing lethal explosions across the country

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A blast that destroyed a home and killed a firefighter in the Bronx, New York has sparked considerable attention to indoor marijuana labs-making that are legal in many states but can also prove to be fatal.

A New York fire battalion chief was killed as he responded to the blast on Tuesday in a Bronx home that law enforcement officials claim had been transformed into an indoor weed farm.

Authorities are currently investigating whether the alleged growers messed with gas lines and misused other materials that could have caused the explosion.

Indoor marijuana labs can produce fire hazards by using propane, natural gas or butane to power carbon dioxide generators that help the plants flourish. In recent years across the U.S., similar methods used to generate more potent marijuana extracts have resulted in explosions and other disasters.

Indoor gas “is a standard way to grow marijuana,” according to Michael O’Hare, a professor at the University of California–Berkeley, who is a specialist in cannabis cultivation. “If you raise the CO2 level, it’ll grow faster.”

Some growers rely on butane or propane gas because using significant amounts of metered gas from could draw the attention of police, who might ask why so much fuel is required for a house of a certain size, O’Hare stated.

An hour before the blast on Tuesday, dozens of residents reported the smell of gas spreading across the neighborhood. The home had already been evacuated, and firefighters were on the scene when the explosion sent wreckage flying, which led to the killing Chief Michael Fahy, a father of three and 17-year veteran of the fire department. His funeral was held on Saturday.

Two suspects in the case, Garivaldi Castillo and Julio Salcedo, were apprehended and remain in custody on drug charges while law enforcement officials try to ascertain whether there is enough evidence that could result in more serious charges related to Fahy’s death.

In court this week, prosecutors indicated that the two-story Bronx home was packed with combustible materials related to the pot operation, including vats of liquid fertilizer and grow lamps. Windows were sealed shut, and other areas were found with extra insulation to keep in heat. Plants the size of “small trees” were found growing in bedrooms upstairs.

Windows were sealed shut, and other areas were found with extra insulation to keep in heat. Plants the size of “small trees” were found growing in bedrooms upstairs, the Associated Press reported.

An attorney for 32-year-old Castillo has disputed his connections to the home. Castillo has pleaded not guilty. Salcedo, 34, was indicted late Friday and pleaded not guilty.

Firefighters crowded the courthouse where Salcedo was charged. As he walked into a Bronx precinct earlier that day, firefighters told him to “burn in hell,” The New York Daily News reported.

Because only about half of states in the United States have legalized weed, either for recreational or medical use, it’s improbable to determine how many growth labs exist, O’Hare reported.

In related mishaps involving indoor marijuana labs over 30 people were hurt last year in Colorado from butane blasts involving hash oil — a concentrated kind of marijuana derived from the plant’s leaves.

In 2015, a marijuana dispensary in New Mexico became immersed in flames after an explosion injured two employees. Fire Department officials reported that a butane leak met with an ignition source, leading to a blast powerful enough to melt fluorescent lights and separate the roof from the wall.

In Washington state, prosecutors have filed charges in five cases involving explosions during hash oil production. The previous mayor of Bellevue, Washington was killed while trying to escape a fire linked to such growth activity.

Over the past year, an exceptionally strong concentrate has surfaced — “Shatter,” which is a type of cannabis wax produced from butane hash oil that is about five times more potent and faster-acting than unrefined smoked marijuana.

It’s legal for recreational use in states such as Washington and Colorado, but can also be obtained from medical marijuana dispensaries in other states.

A blast that destroyed a home and killed a firefighter in the Bronx, New York has sparked considerable attention to marijuana-making practices that are legal in many states but can also prove to be fatal.

A New York fire battalion chief was killed as he responded to the blast on Tuesday in a Bronx home that law enforcement officials claim had been transformed into an indoor weed farm.

Authorities are currently investigating whether the alleged indoor marijuana lab growers messed with gas lines and misused other materials that could have caused the explosion.

Indoor marijuana farmers can produce fire hazards by using propane, natural gas or butane to power carbon dioxide generators that help the plants flourish. In recent years across the U.S., similar methods used to generate more potent marijuana extracts have resulted in explosions and other disasters.

Indoor gas “is a standard way to grow marijuana,” according to Michael O’Hare, a professor at the University of California–Berkeley, who is a specialist in cannabis cultivation. “If you raise the CO2 level, it’ll grow faster.”

Some farmers rely on butane or propane gas because using significant amounts of metered gas from could draw the attention of police, who might ask why so much fuel is required for a house of a certain size, O’Hare stated.

An hour before the blast on Tuesday, dozens of residents reported the smell of gas spreading across the neighborhood. The home had already been evacuated, and firefighters were on the scene when the explosion sent wreckage flying, which led to the killing Chief Michael Fahy, a father of three and 17-year veteran of the fire department. His funeral was held on Saturday.

Two suspects in the case, Garivaldi Castillo and Julio Salcedo, were apprehended and remain in custody on drug charges while law enforcement officials try to ascertain whether there is enough evidence that could result in more serious charges related to Fahy’s death.

In court this week, prosecutors indicated that the two-story Bronx home was packed with combustible materials related to the pot operation, including vats of liquid fertilizer and grow lamps. Windows were sealed shut, and other areas were found with extra insulation to keep in heat. Plants the size of “small trees” were found growing in bedrooms upstairs.

An attorney for 32-year-old Castillo has disputed his connections to the home. Castillo has pleaded not guilty. Salcedo, 34, was indicted late Friday and pleaded not guilty.

Firefighters crowded the courthouse where Salcedo was charged. As he walked into a Bronx precinct earlier that day, firefighters told him to “burn in hell,” The New York Daily News reported.

Because only about half of states in the United States have legalized weed, either for recreational or medical use, it’s improbable to determine how many growth labs exist, O’Hare reported.

In marijuana growth-related mishaps, over 30 people were hurt last year in Colorado from butane blasts involving hash oil — a concentrated kind of marijuana derived from the plant’s leaves.

In 2015, a marijuana dispensary in New Mexico became immersed in flames after an explosion injured two employees. Fire Department officials reported that a butane leak met with an ignition source, leading to a blast powerful enough to melt fluorescent lights and separate the roof from the wall.

In Washington state, prosecutors have filed charges in five cases involving explosions during hash oil production at indoor marijuana labs. The previous mayor of Bellevue, Washington was killed while trying to escape a fire linked to such growth activity.

Over the past year, an exceptionally strong concentrate has surfaced — “Shatter,” which is a type of cannabis wax produced from butane hash oil that is about five times more potent and faster-acting than unrefined smoked marijuana. It’s legal for recreational use in states such as Washington and Colorado, but can also be obtained from medical marijuana dispensaries in other states.

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