A man whose illegal drug manufacturing operation triggered a fire in Wildomar that destroyed a home and damaged another, leaving him with burn injuries, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in state prison.

Bracken Blucher pleaded guilty in May to manufacturing illegal drugs, causing a fire that resulted in property damage and a sentence-enhancing allegation of causing damage to multiple structures in a fire.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen certified the plea terms and imposed the sentence recommended by the Department of Probation.

Hansen additionally ordered Blucher to pay victim restitution in an amount that will be determined by the agency.

Blucher was in the process of making a marijuana derivative known as “honey oil” in the predawn hours of July 19, 2017, when his residence erupted in flames from a butane gas explosion.

The blaze on Harvest Way, near Cornstalk Road, was reported at 4 a.m.

According to county fire officials, a 1,200-square foot modular home was consumed by the conflagration, and a neighboring single-story residence was moderately damaged.

Blucher suffered minor to moderate burns that required emergency treatment.

Investigators found butane gas cannisters scattered throughout the street and yard fronting the property where the fire started.

Seven engine crews and a truck company, numbering about 30 personnel, spent nearly an hour battling the flames before they were fully contained.

Three people living in the modular home with Blucher were displaced. Three adults and a child from the neighboring property required temporary lodgings.

Ironically, the blaze occurred one day after the District Attorney’s Office released a series of public service announcements warning of the perils of butane honey oil production.

The videos featured Alex Gonzales and his girlfriend Selina Cervantes, both of whom were severely burned in a butane honey oil blaze at a Palm Springs motel in February 2015. Cervantes suffered second- and third-degree burns to 97 percent of her body and was permanently disfigured.

“People need to understand that the butane honey oil extraction process takes lives — it hurts people forever,” District Attorney Mike Hestrin said before unveiling the public service announcements. “We want to put an end to the manufacture of butane honey oil.”

Drug lab operators use butane to extract tincture from cannabis plants. The product, often referred to as “wax” or hash, can be mixed with anything and bottled.

Butane honey oil labs have sprung up in both remote and heavily populated areas of the county. In the past few years, butane honey oil fires have erupted in Cathedral City, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Norco and Riverside.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.