Firefighters: Homeowner attempting to make hash oil caused Portland explosion

Explosion at home near Peninsula Park - Photo courtesy Andy Eberly at Purenvironmental Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – The explosion that killed two men, destroyed a house and damaged two others earlier this week was caused when the homeowner was trying to make butane hash oil, Portland Fire & Rescue said Wednesday night.

Also on Wednesday, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the two men killed in the home explosion near Peninsula Park on Monday as 42-year-old Matt McCrann and 68-year-old Richard Cisler.

The explosion happened when a large amount of butane came into contact with an ignition source, firefighters said. They have not determined the ignition source.

Matt McCrann’s father, Kevin McCrann, told KATU Tuesday his son had died in the fire. Kevin tells KATU News his son owned the home where the fire and explosion took place for nearly a decade.

Cisler's older brother, Earl Cisler, said his brother was hired to do repair work for McCrann's house.

"He sanded all the floors and varnished them; I thought he was working the outside of the house because he went over the end of last week and washed down the outside walls," said Cisler.

Cisler said his brother was a Vietnam War army veteran and was spent most of his career as a contractor and painter. He retired at 62 and took on this job to earn extra income.

"He was just happy go lucky, jolly, always friendly, willing to help anybody who needed anything," said Cisler.

Richard Cisler leaves behind a son in his twenties. Earl said that his nephew used to rent a home from McCrann.

"It really hit him hard, and he went off by himself to cope with it," said Cisler.


Crews were called out about 2:45 p.m. Monday for a call of "multiple explosions" and a fire at the house near Peninsula Park.

Officials announced Tuesday morning two people had died.

The house where the explosion occurred is likely a total loss, while the two homes next to it were damaged. NW Natural Gas crews shut off gas lines running to the home, which allowed firefighters to "work more aggressively" at the scene, Portland Fire & Rescue said.

Neighbors at the scene said they felt the explosion from several blocks away.

Portland Fire and Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau, Gresham Fire, the ATF and OSP are investigating the cause of the incident. Northwest Natural tells KATU crews were sent out to the area to monitor levels in a two-block radius of the explosion and found no signs of a gas leak.

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