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Two men burned in Ukiah honey oil explosion (w/video)

Two men were hospitalized for burns caused by an explosion and fire late Tuesday in a shed behind a Ukiah house where they were producing honey oil, a concentrated form of cannabis, authorities said.

James Lowe of Ukiah and Joshua Corrigan of Oakdale, both 35, were flown by helicopter from the scene behind a house in the 100 block of Luce Avenue, Ukiah Police Capt. Justin Wyatt said.

The men are not in custody, Wyatt said Wednesday night, but police will ask the district attorney to charge both with manufacture of a controlled substance, unlawfully causing a fire that involves injury and possession of an assault weapon. Wyatt said he presumed the men were hospitalized.

The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority received a call at 11:42 p.m., and when firefighters arrived, they quickly extinguished the blaze in a 14-by-14-foot shed that had been a marijuana-growing room and was converted to hash oil, or honey oil, production using containers of butane gas, Capt. Pete Bushby said.

One of the men lit a cigarette, which ignited the butane vapor in the shed, Bushby and Wyatt said.

That man was severely burned above the waist, and the second man, who rushed to help, also was burned.

Bushby said there were about two dozen butane containers in the shed and more in the trash. Some of the containers exploded, Wyatt said. Police recovered a burned assault rifle from the shed, he said.

The use of butane is inherently dangerous, Bushby said, noting that the men were “playing with fire.”

Wyatt said he could recall fewer than five honey oil fires in Ukiah in recent years.

You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 521-5457 or guy.kovner@pressdemocrat.com.

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