Two men critically burned when the apartment they were allegedly using to process hash oil caught fire and exploded in a conflagration that rendered the six-unit structure uninhabitable are too injured to speak with investigators about the incident and probably will not be able to for some time to come, Walnut Creek police said Monday.
The unidentified pair were rescued from the wreckage of their top-floor Sunnyvale Avenue apartment shortly after a muffled blast and quickly spreading fire gutted it just after 10 a.m. on Halloween Day. They were taken by air and ground transport to the burn center at UC Davis Medical Center, where both men are believed to be recovering in the center’s burn unit. Specific medical information has not been released but both men were believed to have suffered third-degree burns over most of their bodies.
Investigations Bureau Lt. Lanny Edwards told NEWS24-680 Monday that a criminal complaint against the pair has yet to be obtained and that it will be some time before one can even be considered due to the extent of their injuries.
“We’re told injuries of this magnitude will mean both are in the burn center for over a year and that it may be several months before they can even be contacted by our investigators,” Edwards said.
Police and fire investigators said the two men were believed to have been using butane – an active ingredient in the extraction of hash resin from cannabis – when a spark or other ignition source touched off the butane-infused air and sparked the conflagration.
A number of similar fires have been reported throughout the Bay Area in recent weeks, according to press accounts.