Fire EMS, Firefighting, Terrorism

Butane Hash Oil Manufacturing: It’s a Fire Service Problem, Too

Issue 3 and Volume 169.

On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, a measure intended to regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state; it became law on January 1, 2013. As a result, the Aurora (CO) Fire Department (AFD) Fire and Explosives Investigation Bureau (FEIB) was trained on the manufacture, the use, and the hazards of marijuana concentrate, commonly known as butane hash oil (BHO). The FEIB is staffed by three full-time fire and explosives investigators and two on-call investigators. As the bureau’s captain, I supervise two lieutenant investigators as well as the on-call investigators. All investigators have served at least three years as firefighter/emergency medical technicians or paramedics, operating as online firefighters certified and commissioned police officers, and are certified as bomb-paratechnicians, working and training as part of the bomb squad. The fire department’s first incident involving BHO manufacturing occurred in December 2013. In the next six months, the department would respond…

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