Mobile home explosion in SLO may have been caused by hash oil manufacturing

Woman, dog escape from the blaze at Laguna Lake Mobile Home Estates

jlamb@thetribunenews.comJanuary 8, 2013 

The explosions and fire that destroyed a San Luis Obispo mobile home Tuesday night are believed to have been caused by a hash oil manufacturing operation, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

The occupant of the destroyed residence at 1716 Lynn Drive in Laguna Lake Mobile Estates was arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana and felony manufacturing of illegal drugs. The suspect, 55-year-old Candice Garcia, remained in County Jail on Wednesday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

After the flames were extinguished, firefighters noticed a large number of butane canisters that are believed to have been the source of the explosions, according to a news release. The narcotics task force was called in soon afterward. Officers found 180 pounds of marijuana, scales, conversion cylinders and other processing equipment.

They also found several hundred butane cylinders. Butane is used to extract hash oil — also called honey oil — from marijuana plants.

Hash oil is a concentrated form of cannabis that can be smoked or consumed orally.

The fire was reported at 5:53 p.m. Tuesday. When firefighters arrived at the home, they found it fully engulfed in flames. Butane canisters were exploding and shooting into the air.

Fire Chief Charlie Hines said such mobile homes “go up like matchboxes.” He said firefighters were fortunate to extinguish the fire quickly because mobile homes are closely bunched in parks.

Neighbors crowded nearby to watch the suppression effort. One said he heard a huge boom and subsequent booms and thought a gas line had exploded, or that a sonic boom had occurred.

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