COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, MI – On December 19th, 2020, at 12:07pm, Oakland County Sheriff Deputies from the Commerce Township Substation along with the Commerce Township Fire Department responded to a call in the 2000 block of Bass Lake Road for an unattached garage at a residence which was fully engulfed in flames.
Upon arrival, Deputies encountered a male subject who was standing at the edge of the residence and had severe burns to his face, upper torso, and lower arms. It was determined the fire was the result of an explosion and the subject had been in the garage at the time. The subject was transported to Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi and subsequently, was transferred to the Burn Center at University of Michigan Hospital.
Evidence recovered at the scene determined there was a butane hash oil laboratory in the unattached garage. Butane hash oil labs are used for extracting THC from marijuana, which results in a very high potency form of THC which can be made into waxes, oils, and honeys. Detectives from both the Sheriff’s Office Fire Investigations Unit and the Narcotic Enforcement Team were called to the scene. Evidence from the butane hash oil lab was discovered and taken as evidence.
“We have seen an increase of these types of explosions recently, almost all in residential neighborhoods,” said Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. “While marijuana is legal in Michigan, the law is clear that butane extractions are prohibited from occurring in residential homes. However, the legislature refuses to enact penalties for this dangerous prohibited behavior which continues to put our neighborhoods at risk. Currently, extraction is supposed to only occur with a medical or recreational license which is approved by the state. Extracting butane hash oil is extremely dangerous and has resulted in exploding structures and severe injuries. Now that there is widespread access and choices for medical and recreational marijuana, the legislature needs to take all of marijuana production activity out of neighborhoods with clear policy and penalties. They need to step up before another explosion or dangerous situation occurs.”
The investigation is ongoing at this time. Results from the findings of this case will be turned over to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for any potential charges.