Hash Oil Experiment Blows Up in Isla Vistan Kitchen


Giuseppe Ricapito
Staff Writer

Santa Barbara Firefighters responded to reports of a gas explosion at 6624 Trigo Road on the night of Dec. 8, where investigators found evidence indicating illegal hash oil manufacture being concocted in the kitchen of the 31-year-old resident, Mathew Bacon.

The blaze was “out on arrival,” according to a Santa Barbara County Fire Department press release that indicated to the series of events that precipitated and occurred during the flash fire. The bulletin went on to explain that “moderate damage to the kitchen from the ensuing fire” had been done and the “windows and sliding glass [had been] blown out.”

Captain David Sadecki of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department denied commenting beyond the press release, indicating to ongoing scrutiny by the SBFD investigators and Arson Task Force.

County Fire investigators apprehended Bacon not far from the scene of the incident, where he was arrested on charges of arson and conspiracy. A quick reference to the California Penal Code explains the limited legal distinction made between accidental and purposeful arson—cited under 451 (b) PC (Arson), Bacon faces a minimum of three to eight years if convicted, based simply on a “malicious intent” to perform an illegal act.

No one was killed or injured during the incident, though Bacon was treated for minor burns on his face and arms. The issue of public safety becomes inherently blurred when drugs have a contextual presence. It still remains to be seen whether the seriousness of this case is rooted in fire safety or a drug crackdown. Bacon’s “malicious arson” is a connected attribute purely because the hash oil process was involved.

According to the website International Cannagraphic, the multi-stepped process entails a complex coagulation of small marijuana buds and trichomes in restrictive tubing catalyzed with the disintegrating qualities of butane. When this venture is undertaken in a closed room or building, the area functions as a perpetually generating time bomb.

It still remains to be seen whether the production of hash oil represents a genuine threat to public safety. Any chemical experiment is just inherently more dangerous at the hands of novices that cannot grasp the contingency hazards of utilizing flammable elements. What’s even stranger about the incident is Bacon’s age—it serves as a necessary reminder that Isla Vista is home to a more elaborate and complex social structure than the solely that of the student inhabitants.