Police say butane for marijuana wax caused Gaylord apartment explosion

Police say butane for marijuana wax caused Gaylord apartment explosion

OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Two suspects are in the hospital with burns after an explosion in their apartment.

Police say the explosion was caused by butane they were using to make marijuana wax or hash oil.

On Saturday morning, people living in the same building woke up to a loud bang.

“Just like a loud boom, and then kind of a shake around eight, and then 8:30 we had the fire department knocking on our door, and I come out here and they tell us there’s been an explosion," said Jeff Stinebaugh, who lives in the complex.

At first, police and firefighters smelled chemicals and thought it might be a meth lab explosion.

When police got inside, they found several cans of butane and realized it was a set up to make butane hash oil or marijuana wax, a more potent form of marijuana.

Narcotics officers say making that wax is dangerous, but even more dangerous inside a small apartment.

“They’re using butane, which has a very low flash point, meaning it doesn’t take much for it to ignite and explode," said Lt. Kenneth Mills, with the of Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement Team. "It’s a gas. In this particular place, it’s a small apartment, it’s a very small apartment and it’s cold out so windows aren’t open, that kind of thing.”

That explosion was enough to blast a hole through the apartment's wall and burn appliances like the microwave.

Some neighbors remember a very similar explosion happening in that apartment last summer, which made them decide to move to a different unit a couple of doors down.

“In the summer, this happened once before," said Stinebaugh. "Not as bad, but we were kind of like ‘Yeah there it goes again.’"

Narcotics officers say the more potent form of marijuana is becoming more common.

“It is, because of the potency level, and that’s what a lot of those folks using it want, is that potent THC content to give them a higher high," Mills said. "So, people are doing it at home, which they shouldn’t be doing."

Police say the two people inside the apartment during the explosion drove themselves to the hospital and then were airlifted to another hospital for burn treatment.

Police say they are filing charges against the two.

The explosion caused damage to another apartment, but no one else was hurt.

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