SFD update on August 04, 2013 vehicle explosion

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief, 509.625.7002

Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:27 a.m.

Incident #: 2013035105

Date of Incident: 08/04/2013

This Media Release serves as the official update to the traumatic vehicle explosion that occurred on August 4, 2013. The Spokane County Prosecutors Office has filed formal charges against 27 year old Jacob W. Sayman for his alleged actions which Fire Investigators say caused the vehicle Sayman was driving to explode. Sayman is charged with Assault of a Child 3rd Degree and Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance. Both charges are Felonies. Additionally, there are aggravating circumstances in both charges which qualify for sentencing enhancements if Sayman is convicted. A date has been set to formally arraign Sayman on the charges.

Spokane Fire Department Investigators allege that the vehicle Sayman was driving exploded shortly after he had attempted to extract THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) from marihuana using a process in which butane lighter fluid is used to extract THC from the marijuana plant materials. Investigators allege that Sayman drove to a smoke shop located at Garland and Wall where he purchased three canisters of butane lighter fluid. Investigators say that immediately after purchasing the butane, Sayman returned to his vehicle and attempted to produce a substance which is commonly referred to as “butane honey oil.” Fire investigators allege that Sayman placed marijuana into a homemade device made from a section of plastic pipe and then introduced butane lighter fluid into the device in an effort to extract THC from the marijuana. The attempt to extract the THC was conducted inside the vehicle.

SFD Fire Investigators confirmed that Sayman’s efforts to produce the marijuana derivative were undesirable and that Sayman became frustrated and set the device and materials aside within the vehicle and drove off. Additionally, they determined that as Sayman attempted to light a cigarette with a cigarette lighter, butane vapors that had accumulated in the vehicle ignited, causing a combustible vapor explosion. Sayman’s two-year old daughter was with Sayman when all of the events transpired. Both Sayman and the child sustained burn injuries as a result of the butane vapor explosion.

In the butane honey oil making process, residual liquid from the vessel containing the butane soaked marijuana is collected and allowed to dry. What remains is a gooey substance which has been coined butane honey oil. The honey oil is a super strong marijuana derivative that can be smoked on its own or added to ordinary marijuana prior to being smoked.

Across the country, there have been similar incidents of explosions and/or fires attributed to the THC extraction process. There have been numerous documented cases where those explosions and fires have caused serious injuries to the individual engaged in the activity and to innocent bystanders; notwithstanding, significant property damage.

The Spokane Fire Department warns that butane is highly explosive, colorless, odorless and heavier than air and therefore can travel along the floor until the butane vapors encounter an ignition source. The results of any ignition of accumulating or migrating butane vapors can cause serious burns, respiratory injury, traumatic injuries and/or death to anyone present or in close proximity to such explosions. Moreover, the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office warns that persons who engage in the THC extraction process will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.