Placentia garage fire blamed on marijuana oil lab

Firefighters extinguished a garage blaze Tuesday afternoon in Placentia where two men were burned on 80 percent to 90 percent of their bodies and a marijuana oil lab was found inside.

Two Placentia police officers suffered smoke inhalation while looking for anyone inside.

The fire was reported around 12:20 p.m. in the 100 block of West Primrose Avenue, said Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority. The blaze was extinguished about 12:45 p.m., Kurtz said. The garage was destroyed and parts of the house were heavily damaged.

Kurtz said the two men, ages 30 and 36, were taken to UCI Medical Center’s burn center with life-threatening injuries. The two officers were treated and released from a hospital.

Around 4:20 p.m., a third man who was in the house walked into a hospital with serious burns, said Lt. Eric Point of the Placentia Police Department. .

Point said one of the burn victims had fled and was found down the street.

The garage “is being treated as a crime scene,” said Lt. Eric Point of the Placentia Police Department.

A OCFA Hazmat team and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad were called to the scene because of loud popping sounds coming from inside the home, Point said.

“There were reports of explosions when officers first arrived,” he said.

Inside, officials found marijuana plants and a marijuana oil – also known as butane honey oil – extraction operation. Officers obtained a search warrant for the home and the three men are suspected of being involved in the drug operation, Point said.

Butane is highly flammable and used to extract marijuana oil, a potent pot byproduct, from the plant’s leaves, stems and seeds.

The cause of the fire and a damage estimate were not yet available Tuesday night.

Several honey oil operations have recently been discovered in several Orange County cities. Several people were arrested Feb. 28 when Tustin police found an marijuana extraction lab inside an apartment.

On Feb. 21, Anaheim police arrested three people at a medical marijuana dispensary running on a generator last month when they found butane honey oil extraction taking place.

An Anaheim garage fire on Jan. 20 exposed remnants of a similar operation. A series of explosions have been attributed to the manufacturing of marijuana oil.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7865 or afausto@ocregister.com

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