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Forest Grove explosion sends five to hospital


Man accused of making hash oil in C Street home, endangering women, kids

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Evidence removed from a Forest Grove home following an early Tuesday morning explosion was sorted and cataloged on a C Street sidewalk.A drug-related explosion at a home in southwest Forest Grove sent five people to the hospital Monday night, including a 10-day-old infant and a 20-month old toddler.

The blast rocked a house at 1908 C St. and sent a male occupant — who later turned out to be a suspect in the incident — tearing out the door, Capt. Mike Herb of the Forest Grove Police Department said Tuesday.

"There was a loud 'boom' followed by a man running up and down the street yelling 'I've been burned!'," said Herb.

Bernard Frank Heflin, 22, the injured man, initially claimed he was cooking eggs but later admitted he was extracting hash oil from marijuana using butane as a solvent.

Heflin was transported to an area hospital where he treated for burns. He was later arrested by Forest Grove Police on multiple charges and lodged in the Washington County Jail, accused of manufacturing a controlled substance.

"To make this stuff requires some glassware and a solvent," he said. "It's an extremely dangerous method" that can cause toxic fumes to be emitted and creates the possibility of an explosion.

Two adult females and the two children were also taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Their injuries "did not appear to be life-threatening" and all four were later released, Herb said.

Heflin, whom Herb said did not have a prior record, was also charged with two counts of reckless endangering and two counts each of child neglect in the first degree, endangering the welfare of a minor and criminal mistreatment in the first degree. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

The adult women, whose names were not released, had not been charged with a crime as of Tuesday morning, Herb said, and officers are working with the Washington County Department of Human Services on the children's behalf "to make sure they remain safe."

Hazmat experts

The incident also brought other law enforcement personnel and a group of hazardous materials experts to the site.

Police officers from Beaverton and the Washington County Sheriff's Office showed up at the home, located across the street from the back of the Forest Grove Light & Power building, early Tuesday. They joined a regional hazmat emergency response team that was called in to evaluate the situation.

Clad in white safety suits and equipped with oxygen tanks, the workers removed several butane bottles from the house and set them on a tarp, where they were cataloged as evidence. The was no immediate damage estimate to the 40-year-old residence, an 1,800-square-foot, one-story home valued at $157,000.