Three people, including two children, were injured Monday night when an illegal drug lab inside a Grass Valley home exploded, lifting the roof of the second-floor apartment and blowing doors off their hinges, police said.
Kyle Patche, a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy were inside the Sutton Way apartment when the butane honey oil laboratory exploded, said Sgt. Clint Bates, a spokesman for the Grass Valley Police Department.
He said Patche, 31, and the girl suffered burn injuries and were taken to Sacramento-area trauma centers. The boy was treated by medics at the scene. The girl was treated and released, and both children were in the custody of Child Protective Services, according to police.
Patche is facing criminal charges of causing a fire of an inhabited building, causing a fire that led to injury, child endangerment and illegal manufacturing of a controlled substance, police said in a news release.
A honey oil lab, also known as a hash oil lab, produces a form of purified marijuana that is extracted from the plants. The finished product is used in vape pens and marijuana edibles. Authorities say the butane used to make the oil is highly flammable and volatile, and these labs can easily explode.
Police said Monday’s explosion was severe enough that part of the roof was lifted off the structure and several interior walls were damaged. The apartment where the explosion occurred and the those apartments adjacent have been deemed “structurally unsafe,” according to the news release.
Dispatchers received numerous reports of the explosion about 8:15 p.m. Monday at the apartment complex in the 300 block of Sutton Way, near Olympia Park Road and a few blocks east of Highway 49. Police officers and Grass Valley Fire Department firefighters arrived at the complex and found Patche and the two children.
“The overpressure (pressure caused by a shock wave) from the explosion itself was significant,” Grass Valley police Capt. Steve Johnson told The Union. “It lifted the roof of the complex itself, in that area, off the supporting walls and then it settled right back down. Some of the exterior walls were displaced and the interior walls as well, the doors were blown off the hinges and displaced.”
Monday’s explosion was the second time in less than a month that authorities discovered a honey oil lab in Grass Valley. On Feb. 17, Grass Valley police detectives served search warrant at a home in the 300 block of Carol Drive as apart of a drug investigation.
While searching the property, detectives found equipment and materials used for “a sophisticated drug lab” used to make the concentrated cannabis also known as honey oil, police said. The resident was not home when the search warrant was served, and police did not release the resident’s name.
On Tuesday, Bates said there was nothing to indicate Monday’s lab explosion and the drug lab found on Carol Drive last month were connected. He said those two incidents are not indicative of a new trend in Grass Valley, but he also said honey oil labs are more commonly discovered in Nevada County’s unincorporated areas.