Authorities say an explosion that rocked a Vandenberg Village neighborhood shortly after 2:30 a.m. Dec. 13, is related to a hash oil drug lab.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office says a 57-year-old man was badly burned — his condition unknown. That same person was, or had been, extracting hash oil in a makeshift clandestine lab inside a detached shed, according to investigators.
The Sheriff’s Office explains that the process of extracting hash oil is highly flammable and dangerous. In this case, an error occurred and it resulted in a large explosion, said the Sheriff’s Office. Not only did the shed explode, but the residential home was damaged in the incident.
The burn victim’s spouse managed to escape the blast without injury.
Investigators collected a large amount of processed marijuana, hash oil, and other forms of concentrated cannabis from the property, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The incident occurred in the 3900 block of Marion Court.
Authorities are encouraging the public to report any activities potentially involving marijuana cultivation or extraction in a residential area by calling the Sheriff’s anonymous tipline at 805-681-4171.
Residents in one Vandenberg Village neighborhood in the Lompoc Valley awoke suddenly early Thursday morning to a massive explosion and fire that critically injured one man.
Santa Barbara County Fire and County Sheriff investigators are looking into the cause of the explosion and fire at a backyard shed on Marion Court along Aldebaran Avenue in Vandenberg Village.
Cell phone video taken by a neighbor on Marion Court shows the raging fire that threatened two homes on both sides of the shed fire.
“I just heard a big explosion”, said neighbor Khrystal Jure who took the cell phone video, “I saw some fire and a lot of yelling and screaming to make sure the people were okay who where on the inside.”
After the initial, powerful blast that ignited the fire, there were secondary explosions as firefighters arrived on scene.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department engines backed up by Lompoc City Fire Department engines responded.
“We were evacuated just as a precaution because there were several other mini explosions, but it was just scary”, Jure said.
The massive early morning blast on Marion Court shook homes all around the surrounding Vandenberg Village neighborhood.
“I awoke to the sound of the explosion”, said neighbor Bob Hebert, “shortly after the explosion I heard popping sounds.”
An unidentified adult male was found at the scene with serious burn injuries.
He was expected to be airlifted to a regional burn center for treatment.
The explosion and fire resulted in considerable damage to a neighboring home.
The cause of the explosion and fire, as well as the secondary explosions, is under investigation by Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Next door neighbors, including owners of the home damaged by the explosion and fire, declined to comment on camera on the early morning incident.
“I mean we’re a close community here”, Khrystal Jure said, “I hope, you know, that it’s safe, that’s why we bought our house here for, and definitely we want to know who our neighbors are.”
According to the Santa Barbara Fire Department, a shed caught fire and exploded damaging two homes. One resident suffered critical injuries, a second resident suffered minor juries. Both victims were taken to area hospitals. Multiple homes were evacuated as a precaution.
As of 3:08 a.m., the explosions had stopped as firefighters started to douse the fire.
Multiple fire engines responded to the scene.
It is unclear how the fire was started.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.