A teenager who police said was cooking hash oil in his Palo Alto apartment was arrested Thursday night after he started a fire that displaced several residents in the apartment complex.
The 17-year-old male, whose identity is not being released because he is a juvenile, was reportedly trying to make hash oil in the kitchen at around 8:40 p.m. Police said he was using the kitchen stove and liquid butane to make the liquid substance, a concentrated form of cannabis that can be smoked or ingested. The teenager briefly left the stove unattended and a fire started, triggering the building's sprinkler system, police said.
The Palo Alto Fire Department received calls from several residents about the fire, but when police officers and firefighters arrived on scene they found that the fire had already been extinguished by the sprinkler system, according to police.
The fire damaged the kitchen but was otherwise contained, police said. Yet both the teenager's apartment and two neighboring apartments sustained major water damage and were deemed uninhabitable for the night. American Red Cross workers helped the residents in the neighboring apartments obtain shelter for the night, police said.
In investigating the fire, police said they determined that once the fire was extinguished, the teen tossed the butane canisters down a nearby trash chute and tried to flush down the toilet a "substantial amount of marijuana."
After paramedics treated him for a burn on his arm, the teenager was cited for one felony count of manufacturing hash oil and one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. He was released into the custody of a parent, police said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to email@example.com or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.