UPDATE: Grass Valley police say suspect, juvenile taken to trauma center after honey oil lab explosion
UPDATE at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 2
A man suspected of operating a butane honey oil lab is facing multiple felony charges after an explosion lifted the roof off his Grass Valley apartment Monday night.
Kyle Patche, 31, sustained “significant” but not life-threatening burns and remains at a regional burn center, said Grass Valley Police Capt. Steve Johnson. Upon release, Patche will be charged with illegal manufacturing of a controlled substance, two counts of felony child endangerment causing injury, causing a fire that caused injury or death and causing a fire of an inhabited structure, Johnson said.
A 12-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy also were in the residence at the time of the explosion, Johnson said. The boy had relatively minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene, and the girl was transported to a Sacramento-area trauma center, treated and released later that night. Both children are in the care of Child Protective Services, he said.
Police were called to the scene of the apartment at 368 Sutton Way at 8:13 p.m. Monday in response to numerous reports of a large explosion, Johnson said.
“The overpressure (pressure caused by a shock wave) from the explosion itself was significant,” he said. “It lifted the roof of the complex itself, in that area, off the supporting walls and then it settled right back down. Some of the exterior walls were displaced and the interior walls as well, the doors were blown off the hinges and displaced.”
Having the roof blow off the second-floor apartment proved to be fortunate, Johnson said.
“It gave the pressure somewhere to go,” he said, adding that probably helped minimize the injuries sustained by the occupants of the apartment.
According to Johnson, Grass Valley police detectives and investigators from the Grass Valley/Nevada City and Nevada County Consolidated fire departments worked through the night to determine the cause of the explosion.
“We believe he was involved in producing concentrated cannabis and he had an active butane honey oil lab in the apartment,” Johnson said, adding that extraction tubes and butane canisters were located at the scene.
“Butane obviously is an extremely volatile substance,” he said. “If there is butane either leaking or somehow released, any ignition source could be as small as a light switch being turned on. It could even be static electricity from walking across carpet. It doesn’t need much, especially in a small confined space like an apartment.”
The apartment sustained some charring to the walls but no significant fire damage from what Johnson called a “very dynamic” flash explosion.
Officers evacuated the adjacent apartments Monday night, and all three apartments were red-tagged until they could be inspected. By mid-morning Tuesday, the gas and power had been turned back on for the building and the red tags were lifted on the adjacent apartments, Johnson said.
“The involved apartment will need significant repairs,” he said.
On Monday, March 1, at 8:13 pm, dispatch received numerous reports of a large explosion at an apartment at 368 Sutton Way. Grass Valley Police Officers and Grass Valley Fire Department personnel arrived and located an adult male and two juveniles that had been inside the apartment when the explosion occurred. The adult was identified as Kyle Patche, 31 years old. He and one of the juveniles had burn injuries and were transported to trauma centers in the Sacramento area. The other juvenile was treated and released at the scene.
Grass Valley Police Detectives and Investigators from the Grass Valley Fire Department and Nevada County Consolidated Fire worked through the night to determine the cause of the explosion. At this time, we can confirm that the explosion was caused by an illegal Butane Honey Oil Lab that was present in the apartment.
The explosion was severe enough that part of the roof was lifted off the structure and several interior walls were damaged. The involved apartment and those adjacent to it have been “red tagged” as structurally unsafe.
The juvenile that was transported to a trauma center was treated for their burns and released later that night. Both juveniles are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.
The investigation is still ongoing, but when Mr. Patche is released from the trauma center, he will face charges including:
• 11379.6 (A) Health & Safety Code – Illegal manufacturing of a controlled substance
• Two Counts of 273A (A) PC – Felony child endangerment causing injury
• 452 (A) PC – Causing a fire that causes injury or death
• 452 (B) PC – Causing a fire of an inhabited structure
Source: Grass Valley Police Department
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