Spokane Police and Fire investigate car explosion

Monique Cotton, Police Communications Director, 509.363.8285

Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.

Spokane Police and Spokane Fire Investigate Car Explosion; Believed to Be Accidental; Charges Forthcoming

Spokane Police and Fire Departments continue to investigate a car explosion occurring yesterday that left a man and child with serious injuries. Spokane Police Major Crimes Detectives and the Spokane Fire Marshall and Arson Investigators are processing the car for evidence. Both victims are hospitalized with serious but not life-threatening injuries. The incident is believed to be accidental. Charges have not yet been filed; however, they are forthcoming.

Yesterday, just after 2 p.m., SPD received a call of a car explosion near Garland and Howard in Spokane. The car was occupied by a male driver and his 2½ year old daughter, both of whom were seriously injured in the blast and transported to the hospital.

The explosion tore off the roof of the car and damaged nearby buildings. The Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) responded to the scene and processed the car for explosives. SPD Major Crimes Detectives, the Spokane Fire Department Fire Marshall and the Spokane Fire Department Arson Investigator were also called in to assist in the investigation.

Through interviews and evidence from the car, investigators believe that prior to the explosion the driver was trying to use cans of butane (that he had just purchased) with a “THC Generator” device (a device used to extract oils from marijuana to make it more potent. This is an extremely dangerous practice). When the device did not function as expected, the driver placed it in the back seat of the car and lit a cigarette, which caused vapors in the car to flash/explode as the car was moving eastbound on Garland.

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