Alleged Gardnerville hash oil explosion leads to federal charge

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A man hospitalized after an alleged hash oil explosion in Gardnerville has been indicted on a charge of endangering a life while making a controlled substance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Adam Fitzgerald-Wermes, 22, charged with causing a hash oil explosion at his Gardnerville home. Washoe County jail photograph.

Adam Fitzgerald-Wermes, 22, has a trial scheduled for May 8. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charge alleges Fitzgerald-Wermes caused an explosion in his kitchen Jan. 14 after trying to make butane hash oil that had concentrated THC.

“The chemical extraction process is dangerous because it involves the use of butane, a highly flammable and odorless gas, to burn parts of marijuana to draw concentrated THC from the plant into a wax-like substance,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “THC is a psychoactive chemical in marijuana that produces the ‘high’ feeling users seek.”


A man hospitalized after a flash fire in Gardnerville will face charges.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and East Fork Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire at the Stodick Apartments in Gardnerville January 14, 2018. Crews found an extinguished appliance fire and 22-year-old Adam Fitzgerald-Wermesan, of the Gardnerville Ranchos, with third-degree burns. He was flown Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.

Douglas County investigators say the fire originated from an illegal Butane Hash Oil extraction process, in which highly-potent THC from marijuana is extracted with butane. They say the process is very volatile and highly likely to cause an explosion.

Fitzgerald-Wermesan faces the charge of Unlawful to Extract Concentrated Cannabis, which will be submitted to the District Attorney for prosecution. The investigation is ongoing.

This is a screenshot of a video produced by Citywide Video News of the scene of a flash fire and explosion in Gardnerville.