PITTSFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Lenox man was seriously injured after an explosion caused while illegally extracting cannabis oil from plants in a Pittsfield mill building.
According to the State Fire Marshal’s Spokesperson Jake Wark, an investigation revealed that on February 21 the victim suffered serious burns while attempting to extract hash oil from marijuana plants in a mill building on Keeler Street. The explosion and injuries of the man were not reported to officials until the next day by a report through the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (MBIRS), which requires all major burn injuries to be reported to the State Fire Marshal.
The incident was investigated by the Pittsfield Police and Fire Departments, and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office. A large number of marijuana plants were found inside the building as well as melted plastic containers and signs of injuries.
“Incidents like this are exactly why extraction processes using flammable gases and liquids are subject to safety regulations,” said Pittsfield Fire Chief Sammons. “These are hazardous materials. Even storing them improperly carries a risk. Their untrained, unlicensed misuse can lead to property damage, serious injury, or death.”
“Cannabis extraction methods that use propane, butane, and similar substances without proper safety precautions are illegal because they’re extremely dangerous,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “The gases used in these processes are highly flammable. If they accumulate in an enclosed area, the smallest spark can cause a devastating explosion.”
Crews from the Lenox Fire Department, Lenox Police Department, Pittsfield building inspectors, and Hazmat technicians, as well as the State Police Bomb Squad and other State Police units also assisted in the investigation.
The man’s injuries were reported as “life-threatening” by the State Fire Marshal’s office. No other information was released about his injuries or if the man will be facing any charges.