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Pot extract cause of west Medford garage fire

A Jackson County couple face felony charges after their production of marijuana extract caused a fire that burned a west Medford garage Saturday afternoon, police say.

Troy A. Wyatt, 42, of Central Point, was believed to have been manufacturing the concentrated marijuana extract known as "butane honey oil" in the detached garage of his 46-year-old girlfriend Tanya Fitzhugh's home Saturday when the operation exploded and caught fire, causing minor burns to Wyatt's hands and face, according to court documents.

Neighbors called in the fire at 32 Hamilton St., at 12:45 p.m. With Medford Fire-Rescue's Station No. 2 just down the street, firefighters had water on the blaze within a minute, Capt. Kip Gray said. Mercy Flights briefly tended to Wyatt's burns before he waived off assistance and used an ice pack. 

Court documents allege Wyatt attempted to hide over 2.7 pounds of marijuana inside the residence from investigators. Fitzhugh later took the marijuana to a neighbor's house, but the neighbor refused to hold onto the evidence, the documents said.

When Fitzhugh returned to her house, she admitted to investigators that she tried to hide the marijuana, the reports said. Fitzhugh does not have a medical marijuana card.

Wyatt and Fitzhugh face felony charges of first-degree child neglect and unlawful manufacture of marijuana, along with misdemeanor charges of possession of greater than four ounces of a cannabinoid extract, reckless burning, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a minor. 

Fitzhugh faces an additional misdemeanor charge of tampering with physical evidence. She was lodged in the Jackson County Jail Tuesday on $9,000 bail and was released on her own recognizance Wednesday. A preliminary hearing on her case is scheduled for Jan. 28 in Jackson County Circuit Court. 

No court date has been set for Wyatt's charges.

Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said detectives from the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force are still actively investigating the case and he couldn't provide details behind the child neglect charges.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

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A Medford firefighter looks into a burning garage that caught fire Saturday at the corner of Hamilton and Eighth streets. Mail Tribune/ Denise Baratta