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Hash Oil Butane Caused Massive Blast

Cause found of deadly home explosion

Michael Leighton | 7/27/2017, 11:08 a.m.
A massive house explosion and fire that killed two men in north Portland Monday sending glass shards and debris across ...
Water pours down from a Portland Fire and Rescue hose onto a house flattened by an explosion Monday afternoon on North Kerby Street across from Peninsula Park. The blast killed two people, damaged at least two other homes, and could be felt by residents for up to 10 blocks away. Photo by Portland Fire and Rescue

A massive house explosion and fire that killed two men in north Portland Monday sending glass shards and debris across the street into Peninsula Park and damaging surrounding homes was caused by using butane to make hash oil, investigators have determined.

Hashish oil is concentrated marijuana, and its production can be a fire risk because it's prepared using butane.

Authorities earlier reported that a damaged natural gas line was one of the factors that made fighting the fire difficult, and there was speculation the blast was caused by a natural gas explosion. But officials have now determined that a large concentration of butane came into contact with an ignition source and caused the blast. The ignition source has not been determined, officials said.

“The concentration of butane was created by the homeowner while he was attempting to produce hash oil,” investigators said Wednesday. The probe included officials with Portland Fire and Rescue, Portland Police, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Oregon State Police.

Authorities said Matthew McCrann, 42, the owner of the home at 6214 N. Kerby Ave, died at the hospital after the fire and the body of a second victim, 68-year-old Richard Cisler, was found in the debris.

Cisler's brother, Earl, told KOIN-TV that his brother was working at McCrann's home on a remodeling project.

-AP contributed to this report.