Making hashish 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 Apartm ents at 645 Royal Ave. when butane used in hash oil preparation exploded, according to Medford police. The blast burned 27-year-old Edward Bryant Shelton and 34-year-old Andrew William Long, police said.
Long ran to nearby Providence Medford Medical Center for treatment of his burns. Shelton was found outside the apartment and taken to Providence. Both were transported to Legacy Oregon Burn Center in Portland, where they remain in critical condition, Legacy officials said Tuesday.
The 12-year-old girl jumped from a second-story balcony to escape the fire, breaking some bones when she hit the ground. She was treated and released at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. A 37-year-old male and 48-year-old female, the girl's mother, escaped without injury.
Four engines and 13 firefighters from Medford Fire-Rescue responded, meeting Medford police and Mercy Flights at the scene.
"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."
Responders could see into No. 233, on the second floor of the three-story complex, from the street. Smoke poured from the porch door. Responders found 27-year-old Shelton outside on the ground, injured from burns.
Firefighters 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, he said.
Several aerosol cans and containers of butane were found in the room, investigators said.
Fire and police evacuated the building's other apartments while they investigated the scene. Fire crews left the scene at about 1 a.m.
Police said Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders can legally prepare hash oil, though it was not known whether the residents had OMMP cards or how much marijuana was involved.
Medford police, the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team, and Medford Fire-Rescue continue to investigate the case.
"We're going to be looking at this with some heavy scrutiny," said Lt. Mike Budreau of Medford police.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at email@example.com.