News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Police Arrest Teen Following Apartment Fire
Contact : James Reifschneider, Sergeant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA -- Police arrested a teenager who, while attempting to manufacture hash oil, caused a fire that displaced several residents of an apartment complex. 

On Thursday, June 25, 2015, at about 8:45 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received several calls from residents of the apartment complex located at 845 Ramona Street reporting a fire in an apartment.  Officers responded to the area and found that the fire had already been extinguished by apartment's sprinkler system.  Three engines from the Palo Alto Fire Department also responded to the scene but did not engage in fire suppression.  A portion of the complex was temporarily evacuated out of an abundance of caution while the fire’s cause was being determined. 

The investigation revealed that, at about 8:40 p.m, a 17-year-old resident of the apartment had been attempting to manufacture hash oil using liquid butane and a kitchen stove. Hash oil is a form of concentrated cannabis.  When the teen left the stove unattended momentarily, a fire started, activating the apartment’s sprinkler system.  Once the fire was extinguished, the suspect threw the butane canisters into a nearby trash chute and attempted to flush a substantial amount of marijuana down a toilet.

Due to the sprinkler activation, the fire was contained to the kitchen in which it started and no other units suffered any fire or smoke damage; however, the suspect’s apartment and two neighboring apartments suffered significant water damage and were rendered uninhabitable for the night.  No estimated value of the loss is available at this time.  Personnel from the American Red Cross responded to the scene to assist in locating alternate housing for those who were displaced. 

After being treated on scene by Palo Alto Fire Department personnel for a superficial burn to his arm, the juvenile suspect was cited and released to a parent for one felony count of manufacturing hash oil and one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. 

The Palo Alto Police Department does not release photographs of juveniles, nor do we identify them by name.  No additional information on the arrested juvenile is available for release. 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or