2 honey oil lab explosions reported in Southwest Riverside County

A Menifee home that was rocked by the explosion of an alleged butane honey oil lab on Sunday. Valley News/Riverside County Sheriff's Department courtesy photo

Explosions at two different illegal butane honey oil labs have left their alleged operators with injuries over the last few days in Southwest Riverside County, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday.

The first explosion happened a little before noon Sunday, Jan. 19, at a home in the 24000 block of Ridgemoor Road in Menifee.

According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Yarbrough, deputies and firefighters responded to the residence to find the home heavily damaged, as well as a man suffering from major burns.

The man was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries, and further investigation revealed a butane honey oil extraction operation at the home. Honey oil is a form of concentrated cannabis extract, produced using flammable solvents including butane.

A search warrant for the home was obtained, and investigators from the sheriff’s department’s Marijuana Enforcement Team recovered evidence from the residence such as lab equipment, cannabis and finished honey oil.

A day later, on Monday, Jan. 20, deputies responded to a report of an explosion at a home in the 34000 block of White Street in Wildomar, where they found a trailer fully engulfed in flames, Yarbrough said.

Witnesses reported seeing a person flee from that explosion. The person was later found at a local hospital receiving treatment for burn injuries, according to Yarbrough.

Investigators determined the Wildomar location, too, was being used as a butane honey oil lab, and were able to retrieve equipment, cannabis and honey oil after receiving a warrant.

No arrests were immediately made in either case, which both remained under active investigation on Tuesday, Yarbrough said.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.