Authorities: THC extraction sparks fire; man charged

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NILES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man was arrested on drug and child abuse charges after a fire that started when he was extracting THC from marijuana, authorities in southwest Michigan say.

The fire broke out on 1119 Stateline Road, off of M-51 in Niles Township just north of the Indiana border, around 4:30 p.m. Sept. 20, according to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office.

Authorities say it sparked when Luther Dale Borders was extracting THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — using liquid butane. Borders minor sustained burns to his arms and face when the dangerous process caused an explosion.

Two girls, ages 7 and 9, were in the house when the fire started, but weren’t hurt.

Borders, 34, was charged Monday with operating or maintaining a drug laboratory, a 10-year felony; manufacturing marijuana, a four-year felony; maintaining a drug house, a two-year felony; and two counts of second-degree child abuse, both 10-year felonies.

Because Borders has a previous drug conviction, his maximum penalties for the drug charges can be doubled, the prosecutor’s office said.

His bond was set at 10 percent of $25,000. He’s expected back in court on Oct. 5 and Oct. 11.

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