Three men suffered serious burns when the Monrovia house they were in exploded after their failed effort to extract THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets people high, authorities said. Janet Zappala reports for the NBC4 Evening News on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.
An explosion from a marijuana cook gone bad severely wounded three men and set a quiet Monrovia neighborhood on edge.
The house fire broke out at 5 a.m. Sunday in the 200 block E. Walnut Avenue, police said.
Police were investigating whether the occupants of the house were attempting an extremely dangerous method of using flammable butane to extract the hallucinogenic chemical tetrahydrocannabinols -- or THC -- contained in marijuana plants.
When authorities arrived, they saw a house fully engulfed in flames and three burned men in an alley and out front.
Police said the men were likely using a new method called butane honey oil to extract the potent drug from pot.
“The problem is, these people aren’t chemists,” said Monrovia Police Sgt. Nick Manfredi, a department watch commander. “They’re trying to do this without proper training.
“They hear from a friend or go on YouTube to learn how to do this and it could be catastrophe."
Residents were shocked as they have been working with city officials to keep the area clean.
“It’s a real nice town,” said Monrovia Police Officer Don Newton said. “The area they’re in, it’s a real nice area and a couple got in."
Two of the burn victims were taken to a burn ward because of the severity of their wounds.
Their identities were not immediately disclosed as police continue to investigate their roles in the explosion.
It was the second time in less than a week that police have responded to an explosion involving marijuana in the region.
In Reseda on Wednesday, police said a man was growing marijuana and tried to extract THC using a propane tank that caused a fire. The man was hospitalized and was arrested, police said.
A Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet on marijuana says THC is believed to be the main chemical ingredient that produces pot’s psychoactive effect.