Make-shift drug lab explodes in Wayne, burns man's clothes off

Smoke and flames were seen in a garage in a Wayne neighborhood after a make-shift drug lab exploded Wednesday night.

"It was a huge boom," a next-door neighbor said. "Shook my house."

Thinking it was lightning striking her next-door neighbor's house, this neighbor on Pinewood in Wayne says she noticed smoke coming from a garage Wednesday night.

She ran out and asked her 31-year-old neighbor, who was walking down his driveway with his clothes burned off, if he was OK.

"He didn't answer me. He was totally in a daze. I said the ambulance is on its way," she said.

Chief Michael Stradtner of the Wayne-Westland Fire Department said the explosion was so forceful the garage doors and siding had blown off.

"He could've absolutely been killed," he said.

Stradtner believes the young man, whose parents were inside the home, had been in the garage trying to extract THC oil from marijuana using butane.

"They take a pressure cooker and they use the butane to heat that and they take the stems from the marijuana plants, and through pressure and heat they're converting it into a waxy substance, which I guess is used in your marijuana brownies, your gummy bears," he said.

Stradtner says it's against city ordinance to have a marijuana grow operation within 1,000 feet of a residential area and recently, they've had several fires because of them.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says a very similar explosion happened earlier this year in Brandon Township. Last year, another man also used butane and put the byproduct in the freezer.

"Most often we find them through a fire because they overload electrical outlets or they alter the electrical system," Stradtner said.

He says that appears to be the case with this incident as well.

The man involved suffered bad burns on his arms and legs, along with respiratory issues and damage to his lungs, but is recovering at U of M hospital.

"They're going to keep him really sedated for three days and then see," the neighbor said.