Drug users warned they are putting lives at risk by using butane gas to extract cannabis oil


A senior member of the fire and rescue service has warned that lives are being put at risk by reckless drug users using butane gas to extract cannabis oil.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today slammed the “stupidity” of Jordan Blakey who was convicted at court this week.

The 25-year-old caused an explosion at his parents’ home in Washington last April when he lit a cigarette moments after using butane gas to extract oil from cannabis plants.

As firefighters tackled the blaze, Blakey approached them and said “when I finished I was stupid, I didn’t think and I lit a cigarette and it went bang”.

Fire investigators from TWFRS then carried out extensive enquiries in the building and found the front bedroom had 100 per cent fire damage.

The remaining upstairs of the property, that Blakey shared with his parents and 12-year-old niece, suffered 50 per cent fire damage and 100 per cent smoke damage.

Blakey, of The Oval, Washington, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered and producing cannabis.

He was sentenced to two years suspended for two years with rehabilitation at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday.

And today (Friday) Area Manager for Community Safety Richie Rickaby, for TWFRS, said it was a “miracle” that Blakey was able to escape the blaze with his life.

He said: “This was a major explosion that caused significant damage to a family home and the pictures of the aftermath speak for themselves.

“Butane gas is highly flammable and the smallest of sparks can result in catastrophe. In the hands of someone who is heavily under the influence of drugs, the risk is significantly higher.

“There have been a number of similar cases across the country where individuals have caused explosions trying to extract cannabis oil.

“Some of those cases have led to fatalities and in this instance the lives of Blakey, his family and his neighbours were put at significant risk through his actions.

“It is a miracle that he wasn’t more badly injured and I would hope this case acts as a warning to others who try to undertake this dangerous process.

“The Birtley Watch Manager and our fire investigation team have done a fantastic job in supporting the police to bring this case to court, without them this prosecution wouldn’t have been possible.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with our partners to keep our communities safe, whether that is through prevention or enforcement activity such as this.”

Chief Inspector Phil Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: “This could easily have resulted in catastrophic consequences, not only for those inside this property but also families living nearby.

“I am pleased that this case has resulted in a criminal conviction, and would like to thank all our partners including the fire service who played their part in ensuring Blakey had his day in court.”

The court was also told how Blakey is now prohibited from living at the property with his parents, who continue to be supportive.