Two men were severely burned and are in critical condition at UC Davis Med Center Friday after an explosion and fire ripped through their Sunnyvale Avenue apartment – a conflagration investigators say was started by flammable ingredients used to process and extract hash oil.
Friday’s two-alarm fire was called at 10 a.m., shortly after neighbors reported hearing a concussive explosion rip through the top floor apartment at 1564 Sunnyvale. Debris from the structure was blown across the street, and windows in neighboring buildings were shattered by the blast. Firefighters arrived to find two men in the wreckage, both severely burned.
“I was about 50 yards away and it just stopped me cold, boom, and I looked up and stuff was in the air,” Perry Brenner told NEWS24-680. “The sound of it came later. People stopped, covered ears… no one was sure what we were seeing.”
Contra Costa Fire Protection District personnel called for a REACH helicopter to evacuate one man while the second person was transported by ambulance to John Muir Hospital. A third person, believed to reside in the four-plex apartment unit, was also injured. The names of the injured were not provided.
Firefighters and investigators remained on the scene for hours after the initial fire call, sifting the debris for evidence. The upstairs apartment was gutted and “pretty much destroyed,” and the rest of the six-unit complex rendered uninhabitable by the blast.
NEWS24-680 reader Randy Martin, who heard the blast and witnessed the response from his office building a short distance away, noted that the number of injuries may have been relatively low due to the time of day, with most of the apartment occupants off at work.
The active ingredient in the extraction of hash resin from cannabis is butane and explosions such as the type experienced Friday have been reported, mainly in the Western states.