Firefighters discovered what appeared to be a drug lab in the hills above Malibu on Tuesday while responding to a fire that left a man with burns on his body, fire officials said.
The blaze was reported about 5:45 p.m. at a small, single-story home at 1200 Encinal Canyon Road (map), the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
Aerial footage showed the man being transported by ambulance to an awaiting helicopter, which then airlifted him to a hospital. He suffered second- and third-degree burns, officials said.
Investigators said the man appeared to be making “honey oil,” also known as hash oil. The extremely explosive process requires using butane gas to turn marijuana into a honey-like substance that can be easily vaporized and used with e-cigarettes.
Canisters apparently exploded at the lab, where investigators said a large amount of marijuana was found inside.
Fire officials initially said they suspected the lab was being used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Firefighters knocked down the blaze before 6:20 p.m., and hazardaous materials and sheriff's investigators were called to the scene.
The home was located near the Malibu Conservation Camp, a county fire camp that houses inmates.
Making hash oil has landed more than 20 people in the hospital for severe burns in the last year and a half in Southern California, officials said. Some explosions have been strong enough to knock homes off their foundations.
Also Tuesday night, an arrest was made at an indoor marijuana growth house in Glendale, where police said a hash oil lab was found inside.