View Royal woman suffers burns in drug lab fire
Investigators seized approximately 100 pounds of dried cannabis, cannabis resin and oil from the home, as well as more than $1,000 cash, police said. (RCMP)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, June 25, 2019 12:33PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:04PM PDT
The West Shore RCMP says a 35-year-old woman has suffered burns inside a secret drug lab hidden in a rented View Royal basement suite.
Police were contacted by the View Royal Fire Department at approximately 9 p.m. on June 20 to assist with a suspicious fire in a residential unit, the West Shore RCMP said Tuesday.
Fire officials told police the fire originated in the basement unit's kitchen.
Officers on scene determined the fire was caused by someone chemically extracting concentrates from cannabis, police said.
A search warrant on the home was executed June 21 with the help of the BC RCMP Clandestine Lab Team with the Capital Regional District Hazmat team providing decontamination support.
Inside the suite, investigators found industrial ovens and a "sophisticated large-scale clandestine lab that was allegedly producing a chemically derived highly concentrated form of cannabis known as shatter," police said.
Investigators seized approximately 100 pounds of dried cannabis, cannabis resin and oil from the home, as well as more than $1,000 cash, police said.
"A substantial quantity of flammable and explosive materials, such as acetone, and over 500 canisters of used butane was also located," said West Shore RCMP spokesperson Const. Nancy Saggar.
"This residence was located close to schools and parks. There's evidence of children also living within the home, both in the main part of the home as well as the rental suite where this activity was taking place."
Saggar said there is no evidence the homeowner was aware of what was going on in the basement suite but it's still under investigation.
"Any time you’ve got the combination of butane and acetone and then, of course, the oxygen that's in the room, with an ignition point like an oven, it's very dangerous," Saggar said.
The West Shore RCMP are reminding the public that chemical extractions from cannabis remain illegal.
"It is also illegal under the Cannabis Act to produce cannabis beyond personal cultivation limits or with the use of solvents," police said.
"Everyone involved is quite lucky that the only injuries that were sustained by the woman who is accused of doing this was burns to her arms because it could have caused a massive explosion," Saggar said.