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Thermalito Honey Oil Lab Explosion - 3

On November 30th, 2014 at about 1000 hours, Sheriff’s Dispatch received 911 calls regarding a fire with explosion in the 1500 block of 7th Street, Oroville. Upon Deputies and Cal-Fire’s arrival, three individuals suffering from major burns, were located outside a burning structure and provided medical attention.

Cal-Fire and Deputies conducted an investigation into the fire and determined the fire was caused by the manufacturing of butane honey oil; a highly concentrated form of marijuana. Due to the fact that the fire was caused by a butane honey oil lab, Detective’s with the Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Unit were called to the scene to take over the investigation.

Detective’s located a structure that was heavily damaged by the ignition of butane vapors. The ignition of the butane vapors caused a shock wave that preceded the fire causing major damage to the home. The home was heavily damaged to include walls that had been moved off their foundations and windows that had been blow out of their frames. Several dozen butane canisters were located around the explosion area; some as far away as 200 feet.

SEU Detective’s obtained a search warrant for the property and located evidence of marijuana cultivation, including a large amount of marijuana contained within plastic tubs. Several firearms were located at the scene as were several vials of illegal steroids.

The property owner, Brandon Qassem (Age 30), suffered burns in the explosion and was transported to an outside area hospital. He is listed in critical condition at this time.

Two juvenile males, age 13 and age 15, were with Qassem at the time of the explosion and both are listed in critical but stable condition at an outside area hospital. The juveniles were visiting Qassem during the Thanksgiving holiday and are from out of the area.

This is an on-going investigation and criminal charges will be brought against Qassem when he recovers from his burn injuries.