PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- Pasco Sheriff's deputies have arrested a Port Richey man that started a large fire in his own house. After making butane hash oil (BHO), the flammable chemical reaction exploded.
Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported that Steven Brown, 24, and "other accomplices" were manufacturing BHO, also called marijuana wax, at his residence at 6912 Alta Vista Street on September 3. Following the explosion, the house caught fire, forcing Brown to save himself and the drugs on the property.
Harold Cope watched his neighbors home burn.
“The whole sky was lit up,” says Cope.
BHO is a potent concentrated form of marijuana that is used for the purpose of "dabbing," according to Complex. Making BHO requires marijuana to be combined with highly flammable butane to extract THC from the plant material. What is left behind is a substance that resembles ear wax.
Instead of rescuing two caged dogs during the blaze, Brown allegedly grabbed the drugs within the property, PCSO said.
“I heard them burn up alive. They cried and then they stopped. It was sickening,” says Cope.
Both dogs were discovered dead in the burned down residence.
And while that memory for Cope is devastating, he also says he's angry.
“That's pretty disturbing,” says Cope.
Because this could've all been prevented.
“It put a lot of people in danger,” says Cope.
A 1-year-old infant was also in the house during the beginning of the fire. The child was taken away from the house and not harmed.
This is the first marijuana wax explosion for the Bay Area and deputies can only hope this won't be the start of a dangerous trend.
Deputies attempted to arrest Brown on multiple warrants related to this incident later during a traffic stop on September 9. He was able to elude authorities and is currently at large.
He had 12 active warrants for his arrest including possession of a place for purposes of manufacturing a controlled substance, first degree arson, felony possession of a firearm, cocaine possession, suboxone possession, oxycodone possession, tampering with physical evidence, marijuana manufacturing, marijuana possession, aggravated cruelty to animals and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Here is a shot of the house of what it looked like before the fire:
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