ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — There’s a new warning from Public Safety experts Wednesday about the dangers of cooking concentrated marijuana oil.
It can lead to explosions and fires, like the one that has two St. Cloud men charged for the death of a grandmother. Dustin Zablocki and Justin Pick said they were cooking cannabis oil in the basement when their hotplate ignited butane gas.
It was the early evening of Nov. 22, 2014 when Debbie Roberts looked outside and saw smoke and flames coming from her neighbor’s home.
“Where the main part of the fire was her bedroom,” Roberts said.
Sally Douglas, 85, would later die from her injuries. On Wednesday, the cause of the fire became much more clear.
“We had wondered about stuff going on over there but had no idea. To find out they were making stuff so dangerous was really kind of scary,” Roberts said.
The victim’s 18-year old grandson, Dustin Zablocki and his friend Justin Pick, 19, were each charged in Stearns County Court with two counts of third-degree murder.
Investigators say the two men were in the basement trying to make butane hash oil, also known as wax. It is a more concentrated form of marijuana oil that is used largely in electronic cigarettes.
According to the complaint, Zablocki was unaware his grandmother was upstairs until rescuers pulled her out. While standing outside the home as firefighters brought her out, Zablocki fell to his knees and cried, “I just killed my grandma.”
Investigators also found drug paraphernalia in the basement of the home inside a safe as well as web sites that showed how to make the BHO concentrate using hotplates and butane.
What had been a place for comfort is instead, boarded up, a sad reminder of the dangers of drugs.
“He has to live with this and now, is probably going to jail for a little while,” Roberts said.
The 85-year-old Douglas died two weeks after being taken to Hennepin County Medical Center’s burn unit. Bail for both defendants is set at $500,000 without conditions.