Oct 23, 2013 8:23 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Hash oil causes home to burn down

Her house went up in flames, and now she's accused of making illegal drugs, but Kathy Smith says she did nothing wrong.

The home on East Airport Avenue in Lompoc burned to the ground on Tuesday.

Investigators say the fire was caused by a resident making hash oil from marijuana.

Clyde Smith was arrested at the scene. His mother, Kathy, says she was washing dishes while Clyde was using butane to extract hash oil from marijuana. She says the butane bottle suddenly burst into flames and quickly spread throughout the home.

"I've never seen a house go up in five minutes," she said.

Smith spent the day Wednesday collecting what's left of her possessions, but because of the damage the fire caused, there isn't much.

"All my great-grandmother's stuff is gone, all my grandmother's stuff is gone, pictures are gone," said Smith.

Fire investigator Steve Terrones says evidence found at the fire points to the making of hash oil as the cause.

Smith says she and her son, who was making the oil, have a medical marijuana prescription. However, making hash oil in the state of California, medical prescription or not, is illegal.

"What they found was a large amount of marijuana in the area, in the residence but also a number of butane bottles," said Captain Steve Terrones.

Hash oil is a form of concentrated THC extracted from marijuana using a type of holding container, butane, and marijuana trimmings.

"It's an extremely dangerous process. They're using the butane to force the oils out and what happens is the butane just goes through the device and now it's floating around, it's a little heavier than air," explained Terrones.

He says once the butane is in the air, all it takes is a simple ignition source to start a fire.

"It could be electrical arching, a lit cigarette," said Terrones.

Kathy says she's thankful neither she nor her 28-year old son were hurt, but she may still find herself voicing her side of the story in court.

Clyde Smith was arrested on a charge of manufacturing a controlled substance. Kathy Smith has not been charged with a crime.

When KSBY asked her to show us her medical marijuana license, she said she didn't know where it was.

Damage to the home is estimated at around $100,000.



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