Probation and suspended sentence for man involved in suspected cannabis operation explosion

GORE BAY—On October 12, 2019, a bunkie at the rear of a property located in Providence Bay exploded, seriously injuring an Island woman. Tyrone Wood, who lives in Sudbury, and his girlfriend were inside the bunkie when the explosion occurred, causing the walls and roof to collapse. Mr. Wood pled guilty on January 6 to mischief involving destroying or damaging property, contrary to section 430.1(a) of the Criminal Code (CC).

The property was being rented at the time by Mr. Wood’s mother. A neighbour heard the explosion and arrived at the scene, where he located Mr. Wood and his injured girlfriend.

The Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) office attended the scene to investigate and found 10 empty butane canisters at the scene but no butane operated devices. The OFM concluded the explosion was caused by the introduction of butane gas into the bunkie, which was ignited when Mr. Wood’s girlfriend used a lighter to light a cigarette.

The court heard the OFM believed butane gas was being used to extract THC from cannabis. While this was not admitted, Mr. Wood did admit to emitting butane gas into the air.

Mr. Wood had to hold up the roof to get his girlfriend outside. He put her into a shower and later asked his mother to take her to the hospital in Mindemoya. She was then transported to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto with life threatening injuries, having suffered significant burning to her face and torso.

Justice Buttazzoni was asked to consider a joint submission of three years of probation and a suspended sentence, which he agreed to. Mr. Wood is also prohibited from possessing any incendiary devices and must not be in possession of any butane canisters or equipment used to alter the properties of cannabis.

An incendiary device includes any “object, device, instrument, or substance designed to start a fire or to emit smoke, sparks, or fire; including, but not limited to, gasoline and other accelerants, matches, butane lighters, fireworks, firecrackers, smoke bombs and bombs.

Mr. Wood was originally charged with intentionally or recklessly causing damage by a explosion to a structure which was inhabited or occupied, contrary to section 433(a) of the CC. Arson is a difficult trial to proceed on, the court heard. A finding of guilt at trial would have resulted in a “much stiffer sentence,” Justice Buttazzoni said.

In this case there was “willfulness and negligence,” but a mitigating factor was that Mr. Wood did seek help for the victim, who does not hold him at fault for what happened.