Exactly two years ago today a hash oil explosion in Bellevue destroyed 10 apartment units just outside of Seattle. Three men started the fire at 6:20 a.m. by using butane to extract the hash oil from marijuana. One hundred police and fire fighters were called to battle the fire which lasted several hours and injured seven.
Despite this extensive damage and the use of 100 police and fire attendants at the scene, the sheriff of King County, Washington made television commercials in favor of Oregon’s Measure 91, the 2014 ballot to legalize marijuana in Oregon. It passed. Interesting!
Nan Campbell, former mayor of Bellevue died in the fire after suffering from a broken pelvis. Other residents ended up with broken bones, after jumping out of 2nd and 3rd story windows. Originally it was thought that the injuries were not life-threatening, but Campbell died.
Residents who were interviewed lost all their belongings. There were $1,500,000 in damages to the building and about 1/3 of that in personal possessions. It has been said that marijuana legalization privatizes profits while the public pays all the costs.
On October 17, 2013, three weeks before the big incident of November 5, 2013 police had come to investigate the two men living in the apartment. However, the men showed their medical marijuana cards and denied making butane hash oil.
After investigation and with the aid of federal agents, three men were charged and convicted this past summer.
Hash oil explosions are triggered by making the marijuana concentrate, BHO. Butane is a highly volatile solvent and a flammable gas at room temperature. Without proper ventilation it can easily go off like a bomb with ball of fire, blowing out windows, and doing damage to a house, condo or apartment and putting innocent neighbors at risk. It is also a concern when children are present. On Tuesday, seven children were present when a BHO explosion occurred at a home in Oroville, California.
At least 5 other explosions occurred in the Seattle area in 2014. California had two explosions last year that rival the size of the Bellevue explosion: one in Walnut Creek on Halloween and near Sacramento in June. The Sacramento explosion displaced nearly 150 residents. The Walnut Creek explosion totally destroyed 6 units. When neighbors and other residents are thrown out of their homes because of BHO fires, the homeless shelters are unnecessarily taxed.