Los Angeles police are currently investigating a deadly fire that occurred at an industrial site in Green Meadows early Saturday morning. The incident, which resulted in an explosion, led to the recovery of a body and the discovery of an illegal cannabis operation, according to fire and police officials.
The body, believed to be that of a man, has yet to be officially identified. A second individual was transported to a hospital in critical condition, although further details regarding their injuries remain unknown, stated Officer Jader Chaves, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.
The industrial building, located in the 800 block of East Manchester Avenue, was suspected to be housing an illegal butane honey oil clandestine lab. Butane honey oil is a highly potent hash product produced by heating marijuana extract using flammable butane. Despite the legalization of various cannabis products in California, such underground operations are illegal due to the volatile and hazardous nature of the process.
Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters encountered explosions and battled the blaze for over an hour. The building, seemingly abandoned from the outside, revealed signs of a cannabis operation as firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire. Cannabis products, processing equipment, and gas cylinders were found scattered throughout the premises.
Efforts to enter the building were impeded as the fire intensified and the structure collapsed. Firefighters managed to contain the blaze to the single building, averting potential damage to nearby structures. Following the containment of the fire, the body was discovered by firefighters who subsequently alerted the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
The production of hash oil in such labs has gained popularity, particularly with the rise of electronic cigarettes. However, these operations have also resulted in numerous explosions in Southern California, causing severe injuries to those involved. In a recent incident near Knott’s Berry Farm in Anaheim in 2022, an explosion at a lab injured at least four individuals, including two firefighters.