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Man gets prison for pot lab fire

A man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison and ordered to repay millions of dollars for his role last summer in a marijuana lab explosion that caused a wildfire that injured a firefighter.

Michael A. Cashmareck, 24, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to arson and assault charges for starting the East Evans fire in August 2019.

He was ordered to pay nearly $4 million in restitution for causing the Aug. 2, 2019, explosion in the 18700 block of East Evans Creek Road near Rogue River that quickly spread into a wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in the neighborhood. The explosion happened while Cashmareck was making butane honey oil, a concentrated marijuana extract made by dissolving marijuana in butane, then allowing the fuel to evaporate.

Cashmareck was in the volatile “post-extraction” process of making the drug, which involves highly flammable vapors evaporating from the mixture. The fire quickly grew to 155 acres but was contained within a day. One firefighter working a night crew on the fire in difficult terrain was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.

Judge Lisa Greif sentenced Cashmareck to 34 months in prison followed by two years post-prison supervision after accepting his guilty pleas on charges of third-degree assault for the firefighter’s injuries and second-degree arson incident to cannabinoid extract manufacture, according to court records. Greif allowed credit for time served — Cashmareck has been held in jail since his arrest last year — and authorized any sentence reductions or work release programs for which he may be eligible.

He was ordered to pay more than $3.9 million in restitution, consisting of $3,601,460 to the Oregon Department of Forestry and $324,650.74 to SAIF corporation.

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

Michael A Cashmareck admitted Tuesday to a felony arson charge for starting the East Evans fire with a suspected marijuana extract lab. Jackson County Sheriff's Office photo.
File photo of where the East Evans fire started on Aug. 2, 2019 in Sams Valley while making the marijuana extract butane honey oil. JCSO photo.