LUCERNE VALLEY – A Lucerne Valley fire on Wednesday evening was determined to be caused by a marijuana extraction lab authorities said.
At around 7:00 p.m. multiple reports were made regarding an explosion at 11249 Medanos Avenue in a remote area of Lucerne Valley. When they arrived they found a fully engulfed mobile home trailer. Cal Fire responded to the location to fight the fire. Firefighter noticed downed power lines, which remained energized prompting a life hazard alert. A deputy from the Victor Valley Station noticed signs of a THC extrication operation at the location and asked for addition sheriff’s personnel and investigators to respond to the scene.
The Sheriff’s Arson/Bomb Detail and Marijuana Enforcement Team responded to take over the investigation. A short time later, two males arrived at Desert Valley Hospital suffering from burn injuries consistent with an explosion and fire. The two men, one 25-30-years-old and the other 35-40-years-old, were transported to Arrowhead Regional hospital for advanced burn treatment. At about the same time, two unidentified adult males arrived at the Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville suffering from burns and injuries consistent with an explosion and fire. The hospital staff arranged for these two subjects to be transported by ambulance to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton because of their injuries.
The Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team and Arson/Bomb Detail served a search warrant on the residence and found evidence of the lab. The lab, according to authorities had been at the location for an extended period of time and was capable of producing several pounds of concentrated cannabis. “Investigators found evidence to show the THC extraction lab was producing concentrated cannabis known as “Wax” or Butane Honey Oil,” Sheriff’s officials said. “Several hundred pounds of marijuana plant material, thousands of butane canisters, and equipment used in the process of manufacturing and making of concentrated cannabis were found at the location.”
Through preliminary investigation, investigators learned that the explosion and fire were caused when the ignition source, believed to be an electric water heater, ignited the butane gasses inside the trailer. The trailer caught fire and debris flew over 200 feet from the trailer. “Nearby residents told deputies it felt like a car struck their house when the trailer exploded,” authorities said.
The investigation is ongoing to determine if the two men who arrived at the hospital are in fact related to the incident. “If they are identified as suspects in this case, they will face charges of Manufacturing a Controlled Substance and Arson” Sheriff’s officials added in the news release. The report will be forwarded to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office for charges.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs / Narcotics Division at (909)890-4840. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
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