Four people arrested after explosion at Sebastopol-area fourplex that displaced 14 residents
An explosion at a Sebastopol-area fourplex that sent two men to the hospital with severe burns and displaced 14 people Thursday night is being investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office after first responders found evidence of suspected hash oil production, officials said.
Three men and a woman were arrested in connection with the explosion, which also injured a dog and two cats, Sheriff’s Sgt. Juan Valencia said.
The blast was reported about 9:20 p.m. in the 1400 block of Industrial Avenue, just south of the Sebastopol city limits off Highway 116, according to Redcom, the county’s emergency dispatch center.
Firefighters from the Gold Ridge Fire Protection District and Sebastopol Fire Department found two men with burns, mostly to their arms, and damage to a lower-level unit where the explosion came from, Gold Ridge Fire Chief Shepley Schroth-Cary said. A TV and desk in a neighboring unit were knocked down by the impact, Schroth-Cary said, and one wall was blown off its foundation, Valencia said.
“The door was completely blown off the hinges and the wall was completely pushed out,” Schroth-Cary said.
Valencia said three people who lived at the residence were arrested on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, unlawfully causing a fire resulting in great bodily injury and cruelty to an animal. They included James Wood, 58, Cameron Coull, 26, and Linzy Gingras, 29.
Coull and Santa Rosa resident Douglas Baker, 39, who also was cited, had been inside making honey oil when the explosion occurred and were badly burned, according to a sheriff’s news release. Deputies found glass tubing and butane canisters at the scene, among the evidence suggesting an illegal butane lab, it said.
Baker and Coull were taken by ambulance Thursday night to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Schroth-Cary said.
The pets were taken to Sonoma County Animal Control for treatment of their injuries, authorities said.
Wood, who also was arrested on suspicion of violating probation for a prior drug charge, was cited and released for medical reasons, Valencia said. Baker and Coull also were cited for misdemeanor violation of probation.
Gingras was booked into the Sonoma County jail and held on bail of $100,000.
Fourteen residents of the fourplex were displaced by the explosion, Schroth-Cary said. The blast caused roughly $20,000 in damage, including the blown-out wall and a burned kitchenette in the lower-level unit where the explosion originated, he added.
The Red Cross offered affected families a place to sleep overnight but each made other sleeping arrangements, Schroth-Cary said.
The fourplex will remain closed pending a visit by Sonoma County building inspectors, who need to ensure residents can safely return to the home, Schroth-Cary said.
“Because of the damage to the walls, we’re concerned about the wiring and the gas lines,” Schroth-Cary said. “(They’re) making sure they weren’t compromised from the explosion.”