By MELINDA WILLIAMS
A Radford University student severely burned in a fire Nov. 20, died Thursday.
According to his obituary, 20-year-old Ryan Christopher Koon of Salem died as a result of “complications during surgery.” He was a computer science major at the university and worked in technology support for student media.
According to a press release from Radford Police Department, firefighters and police officers found smoke coming from the kitchen of a residence at 307 Fourth Ave. when they responded to a possible structure fire just after 11 p.m. Nov. 20.
Authorities said a preliminary investigation revealed a butane hash oil lab ignited and exploded, causing the fire. An officer allegedly saw cans of butane on the floor of the kitchen and drug paraphernalia in two of the bedrooms while making sure there was no one in the burning home.
Koon was among four people removed from the residence. He was taken to Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and subsequently airlifted to the burn unit at Baptist Hospital in North Carolina.
Radford City Police Department and members of the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at the residence Nov. 21. The case remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), hash oil is produced by using a solvent, such as butane, to extract THC from the plant material. The agency states that placing a drop or two of the resulting “oil” onto a cigarette is the equivalent of a single marijuana “joint.” Hash oil is classified as a Schedule I drug.