A narcotics lab unlike any of its kind found in Carroll County is being blamed for an explosion January 12 in Dugspur.
The investigation remains ongoing by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Wytheville Field Office into an explosion inside a residence Jan. 12 in the 100 block of Old Mabry Place, just off Double Cabin Road. Investigators have identified a Butane Honey Oil (BHO) lab as the cause of explosion. A BHO lab is the process of extracting THC from marijuana plants using butane gas. The process creates a highly-flammable atmosphere and great risk for explosion.
The explosion occurred at approximately 6:45 a.m., Jan. 12 inside the residence, where four people were home at the time of the explosion. An adult male was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, where he continues to be treated for serious burns suffered in the explosion. An adult female and two juveniles were not injured.
During the course of the investigation, marijuana and an illegal hallucinogenic narcotic were seized from inside the residence. Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner said the BHO lab is also referred to as the street name of a “hash oil clandestine lab.”
“It is the first one we have run into like that,” Gardner said of the lab. “And one of the things you do when you know there is a lab of any kind, you take protective measures. We contacted state police, they are part of our local task force, but we contacted them and they brought in clandestine lab folks who have been trained and come with protective equipment and breathing apparatuses to protect themselves from exposure.”
Gardner said hash oil clandestine labs are designed to extract THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, for use to be smoked in electronic cigarettes or “vapes.” The process causes the butane to evaporate, however.
“And where does the butane go when it comes back? It becomes a gas. It comes back and goes down on the ground because it is heavier than air. It has to go somewhere,” Gardner said. “That stuff builds up over time as well, and where does it go? Anywhere there is a dead space such as between the bricks and the building of the house. According to the building inspector, that is one of the dead spaces it goes to over a period of time, which explains the bricks blowing off (the residence).”
Gardner said warrants still have not been served on the man injured in the explosion. His name will not be released until warrants can be served.
“My understanding is this fellow is still in the hospital and is still in pretty bad shape. He was burnt pretty bad, which makes you think it was a tremendous fireball to have done the damage it did and him to be close to it,” Gardner said.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN