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Three charged in marijuana explosion case

Three people have been charged with crimes related to a 2016 marijuana extract explosion in east Medford that destroyed two buildings and severely burned a man. 

Terry James Coopman, 28, of the 1900 block of Bluegrass Drive in Central Point faces charges of unlawful manufacture of a cannabinoid extract, reckless burning and two counts of second-degree criminal mischief.

Joshua Andrew Heggie, 28, of the 2200 block of Houston Road in Phoenix and Kamiray Elizabeth Tucker, 23, of the 1200 block of Niantic Street in Medford each face a charge of unlawful manufacture of a cannabinoid extract.

All three are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.

On the morning of Aug. 26, 2016, a fire and explosion destroyed a house and garage at 1492 Lawnridge St., and damaged two other houses, Medford police reported at the time.

In the two counts of criminal mischief against Coopman, an indictment alleges he unlawfully and recklessly damaged a structure at 1492 Lawnridge St., plus another structure on nearby Berkley Way.

Information was not immediately available about whether Coopman was the man burned in the incident.

The day of the fire and explosion, a man with burns to his hands and feet was taken to a local hospital, then later transferred to a Portland hospital because of his extensive injuries, Medford police said at the time.

Investigators who returned to the property on Lawnridge Street with a search warrant that night found marijuana plants, ammunition and evidence of a honey-oil operation, police said.

Honey oil is the name for the oil extracted from marijuana using butane. The oil contains concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that makes users high.

The process of extracting THC from marijuana requires the use of large amounts of butane, which is commonly used in cigarette lighters and welding torches because of its flammability.

Lingering fumes can ignite, triggering an explosion, according to Medford police.

Southern Oregon has seen a spate of honey-oil explosions in recent years.

Among them, Kasandra Ann Covarrubias and Monty Vernon Stevens of Medford were making marijuana extract when butane exploded, burning them both and damaging a duplex in March 2015. They were ordered to pay restitution and serve 18 months probation.

In January 2016, Medford father Troy Allen Wyatt burned himself during a marijuana-extract explosion that endangered his sleeping daughter and damaged a west Medford garage. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In February 2016, Brian Keith Sunkenberg had cans of butane in a Grants Pass trailer. The butane ignited, causing a massive explosion and fire. Sunkenberg and two children received second- and third-degree burns, according to court documents.

He was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.