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Police: Santa Rosa man severely burned in cannabis oil explosion

A Santa Rosa man with a half-baked plan to manufacture a potent cannabis oil was severely burned in a small explosion inside a residence Tuesday evening.

Miguel Ceja, 31, was trying to make hash oil, commonly known as honey oil, in the bathroom of an apartment at 934 Clark St. when fumes from the process ignited, causing a flash explosion.

"The heat was so intense that the shower curtain was vaporized," Santa Rosa Police Sgt. David Linscomb said.

Ceja's girlfriend took him to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital before firefighters arrived. He was later transferred to St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco for treatment of his burns, which covered more than half his body and are considered life threatening, Linscomb said.

The accident occurred around 7:55 p.m. Evidence at the scene indicated that Ceja had been using butane to extract resin from the leaves and stems of marijuana plants, Linscomb said.

The process is fairly simple, but extremely dangerous because butane fumes are highly combustible. When used in a confined space, butane can ignite when it comes into contact with a heat source, such as a pilot light, Linscomb said.

Such incidents are on the rise. There have been at least two other cases in recent years involving such explosions, one on Corby Avenue and another at a motel on Santa Rosa Avenue, he said.

"It's becoming a trend. I'm not sure why, specifically," Linscomb said.

Two women in other parts of the second-story apartment were uninjured in the blast, which did not cause the apartment to catch fire. The case remains under investigation and police will decide whether to file charges again Ceja.

Anyone with information can call the Santa Rosa Police Department Violent Crimes Team at 543-3590.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or kevin.mccallum@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @citybeater.


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