Ore. wildfire caused by butane hash oil lab blast

Investigators determined that the East Evans Fire started in a shack where Michael Cashmareck was running an illegal butane hash oil lab


By Andrew Theen
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — A wildfire that threatened multiple homes in rural Jackson County earlier this month and seriously injured one firefighter was caused by an explosion at what officials say was an illegal butane hash oil lab.

Investigators said Tuesday they’d determined that the East Evans Fire started in a shack where Michael Cashmareck, a 24-year-old Pennsylvania man, was running an unpermitted butane hash oil laboratory.

A hash oil lab exploded in rural Jackson County, sparking a wildfire that injured one firefighter. (Photo/Tribune News Service)
A hash oil lab exploded in rural Jackson County, sparking a wildfire that injured one firefighter. (Photo/Tribune News Service)

On Aug. 2 at 2:38 p.m., emergency responders received calls of a wildfire on the 18700 block of East Evans Creek Road in Jackson County. The areas is about 20 miles west of Shady Cove. Cashmareck was arrested the same day, but officials didn’t release information about the official cause of the fire until Tuesday.

The fire came on the heels of the Highway 97 blaze near Canyonville, which inundated the Rogue Valley with thick smoke. The East Evans fire grew to 155 acres but was contained in about a day. Fire crews and air tankers were diverted from the Highway 97 blaze to battle the East Evans fire.

Deputies said Cashmareck’s lab along the creek used flammable solvents to remove oils from marijuana plants to create a concentrated type of marijuana.

Cashmareck did not have a permit to operate the lab, and the sheriff’s office brought in its Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team, which includes officials from the Medford Police Department and the county’s district attorney’s office, to take over the investigation along with the Oregon State Fire Marshal. They are looking for potential suspects who were working with Cashmareck at the facility.

He was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of arson related to the manufacture of cannabinoid extracts and one count of illegal manufacturer of cannabis. Cashmareck remains in the Jackson County Jail and is being held on $500,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

———

©2019 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2019 FireRescue1.com. All rights reserved.