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Lowell site destroyed in explosive blaze tied to illegal hash oil lab, owner charged

ButaneHashOilSite_01.jpg
Lane County Sheriff's Office
Remnants of a property outside of Lowell that was destroyed in a series of explosions on Jan. 12, 2023.

Earlier today, reports of multiple explosions at a property near Lowell drew the Lane County Sheriff’s Office as well as firefighters.

ButaneHashOilSite_02.jpg
Lane County Sheriff's Office.
Interior of burned-out trailer at Lowell site.

Investigators learned that a shop at the back of the property on the 38000 block of Place Road was being used to process butane hash oil. It was engulfed in flames, but firefighters were able to put it out before it spread to other properties and the forest.

A search warrant revealed “substantial quantities” of marijuana and processing equipment.

51-year-old Danny Billows Junior now faces charges including Unlawful Manufacture-Marijuana and Reckless Endangering.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says secret labs like these are dangerous to neighboring communities. The hazardous chemicals can not only explode, but poison the environment if not properly handled and disposed of.

In a release, the LCSO said had an explosion like this one occurred during dry weather, “the spread of fire would likely cause catastrophic impacts to the community.”

Investigators from the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office and Lane County Land Management Division are also investigating this case.

©2023, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.