Firefighters from multiple departments work to put out a fire last October at what police say was an illegal hash oil production operation at 3281 Hilton Road in Ferndale.

Firefighters from multiple departments work to put out a fire last October at what police say was an illegal hash oil production operation at 3281 Hilton Road in Ferndale.

File photo


Case involving Ferndale hash oil explosion sent to circuit court

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 15, 2018

FERNDALE — A man involved in a hash oil explosion at a Ferndale building will have his case bound over to Oakland County Circuit Court.

Erich Herzfeld, of Grosse Pointe Woods, waived his preliminary exam on Monday, May 7, at Ferndale 43rd District Court for one charge of possession with intent to manufacture marijuana, 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms of marijuana, or 20 to 200 plants.

According to Ferndale police, the 28-year-old allegedly was involved in an illegal hash oil production operation at 3281 Hilton Road. On Oct. 2, 2017, authorities said, the oil spilled and created an explosion and a fire.

Herzfeld was caught in the explosion and was said to have received significant second- and third-degree burns. A witness previously told the Woodward Talk that he saw a man walking out of the building completely burned, with skin hanging off him.

The suspect was taken to Beaumont Hospital for treatment and was not immediately arrested, Ferndale Police Sgt. Baron Brown said, due to the condition he was in at the time. Police allowed Herzfeld to turn himself in once he was medically stable.

“If it’s, like, a violent crime or something, we’ll oftentimes arraign them right at their bedside,” Brown said. “This guy, he has had several surgeries, facing several more surgeries, he is really physically messed up from this fire. So we allowed him to turn himself in and he was released on a $50,000 personal bond, just because the last place in the world he needs to be is in jail right now.”

Brown said they didn’t push to keep him locked up, as Herzfeld is continuing his treatments and has more pressing needs as far as his physical rehabilitation. 

“It’s a case-by-case call when it comes to stuff like this,” Brown said. “The process to get the warrant isn’t affected any, but then how we proceed from there is where it’s affected. So that’s why this took a little while (to charge him).”

Herzfeld’s warrant was issued on Dec. 20, 2017, and he was arraigned on April 20. The crime is a potential seven-year felony.

Herzfeld’s next court date is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16, before Judge Nanci J. Grant. His attorney, Neil Rockind, could not be reached for comment by press time.