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Man dies from injuries sustained in hash oil explosion

A man critically burned following an explosion and fire while creating hash oil in a Gresham home last month has died.

Joseph Westom, 35, of outer Northeast Portland, died on Friday, June 14, at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

Westom sustained burns to more than 90 percent of his body during the explosion and fire that also seriously injured Kevin Tveisme, 27, of Gresham on Monday, May 27. Tveisme has been upgraded from critical to fair condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center.

Both men were at Tveisme’s home at 19808 N.E. Wasco St. in Gresham when an explosion rocked the garage at 5 p.m. Firefighters rushed to the scene and while fighting the fire in the garage discovered a marijuana growing operation, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, Gresham Police spokesman.

Investigators determined that the men were creating hash oil through an extraction process involving butane, a highly flammable gas. The process creates fumes that filled the enclosed garage. A furnace in the garage then ignited the fumes.

The location is licensed as a medical marijuana holder, and medical marijuana growers can legally create hash oil, which is used for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

An online account has been set up for Tveisme, who is married with two young sons, at gofundme.com/34sbxs.

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