UPDATED: Small explosion at Medford apartment sends three to the hospital

Updated 10:30 a.m.

Processing hash oil in a Medford apartment led to an explosion that sent two men to a Portland burn center and put a 12-year-old girl in the hospital with broken bones.

The explosion occurred at 10:29 p.m. Monday at the Valley Pine Apartments at 645 Royal Ave. when butane used in the hash oil preparation exploded. The blast burned 27-year-old Edward Bryant Shelton and 34-year-old Andrew William Long. Long ran to nearby Providence Medford Medical Center for treatment of his burns. Shelton was found outside the apartment and taken to Providence. Both have since been transported to Legacy Health Emanuel Burn Center in Portland, where they remain in critical condition, police said.

The 12-year-old girl jumped from a second-story balcony to escape the resulting fire, breaking some bones when she hit the ground. A 37-year-old male and 48-year-old female, the girl's mother, escaped without injury.

Medford police, the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team, and Medford Fire-Rescue continue to investigate the case. Parties involved could receive criminal charges when the investigation is complete.

7:55 a.m.

A small explosion at a Medford apartment Monday night sent the unit's three occupants to the hospital and prompted a 45-minute evacuation of the building, fire officials said.

The incident was reported at 10:30 p.m. at Valley Pine Apartments, 645 Royal Ave. in Medford.

"It came in as an explosion, possible fire and also a possible burn victim," said. Ken Goodson, battalion chief for Medford Fire-Rescue, adding the explosion was not an explosion in the traditional sense. "It was probably more of, I guess you would call it a flash fire."

Four engines and 13 firefighters from Medford Fire responded, meeting Medford police and Mercy Flights at the scene. Responders could see into No. 233, on the second floor of the three-story complex, from the street. Smoke poured from the porch door, and a male adult was found outside on the ground, injured from burns.

Firefighters made entry and found a small fire burning in the kitchen. A moderate amount of smoke permeated the apartment, Goodson said. It took just a few minutes to extinguish the flames, leaving minimal damage to the home. No other units were damaged.

Several aerosol cans and containers of butane were found in the room. The fire's cause is not yet known, but fire officials said the incident was an accident.

"It wasn't an intentional fire," Goodson said.

During knockdown and a preliminary investigation, fire and police evacuated the building's other apartments.

The man and juvenile found outside were transported to area hospitals — one to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and one to Providence Medford Medical Center. Their names were not available. A third occupant, also injured from burns, reportedly went to Providence on their own. One of those patients will be transported to Oregon Health Sciences University for further treatment, Goodson said.

"That usually means there are complications," he said.

Fire crews left the scene at about 1 a.m. The incident remains under investigation by police and fire agencies.

— Ryan Pfeil


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