Officials: Enough butane found at N PDX explosion site to fill all lighters in city
After gathering evidence from the scene of a suspected hash oil explosion, officials told KATU News they found enough butane at the site of the explosion to fill all the lighters in Portland.
Two people were killed in the explosion Monday afternoon near Peninsula Park in N Portland; they've been identified as homeowner 42-year-old Matt McCrann and 68-year-old Richard Cisler, who was working as a contractor at the home.
Officials believe McCrann was trying to make butane hash oil. 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.
Investigators searching through the rubble Friday found hundreds of cans of butane along with tanks, pipes and tubing - all products needed to make hash oil.
“We know that this is a very popular product and this is being done all over the city of Portland,” Detective Joe Luiz with Portland Police Bureau said.
Making hash oil without a license is illegal, and extremely dangerous.
“They don't realize that those gasses are escaping into the air or room - anything as slight as static electricity can ignite that explosion,” Luiz said.
The blast was strong enough to shoot debris, including a steel door, across the street. They say it's shocking more people weren't hurt.
“Two people died, and it could have been even worse than that,” Luiz said.
The first responder
Portland firefighter Termaine Clayton was one of the first crews on the scene Monday afternoon after the explosion.
“My captain heard the boom which kind of shook the windows of my station, we were probably 10 blocks away,” Clayton said. “It was surreal, the house just wasn't there."
With the fire quickly spreading to surrounding homes, Clayton and the rest of the firefighters got to work.
“That was pretty intense... I was surprised how quickly the fire was growing... conditions were getting worse, so we backed out,” Clayton said.