Explosions rock Denver neighborhood, 3 injured while extracting THC from marijuana plants

Witness: Victims ran to their cars and fled

DENVER - Fire investigators say more than two dozen explosions rocked a Denver neighborhood and injured three people Wednesday afternoon.

The explosions began around 12:44 p.m. at 1241 South Lipan Street between West Arizona Avenue and West Louisiana Avenue. Fire department spokesman Mark Watson said people were using butane to extract THC from marijuana at the time.

He said the injured people were taken to area hospitals with second-degree burns.

"We were having lunch and we heard these booms," said Cindy Gilmore, who works two doors down. "We went outside and the booms were still going off."

Gilmore said that when she and her coworkers looked toward the west, they saw a big fireball erupt from the far side of the building.

"People were coming out and getting in their cars and leaving," she said. "That gave me an uncomfortable feeling.  It's like, 'Why would you do that?  What were you up to?  What's happening in there?'"

Gilmore said none of the employees who came out of the warehouse would explain what happened or what was going on.

She said even one of  the injured got into his car and left.

"He came back," she said. "He kind of seemed like the leader.  He had skin hanging off his arms and off his leg.  He was very disoriented."

Watson said the fire department is checking to determine if this was a legal marijuana grow operation.

He said the operators claim that it's a medical marijuana grow operation.

Fire officials say the operators came in and made changes to the warehouse without getting the proper permits.

They also say that the type of process being used to extract THC from the marijuana plants is not allowed in Denver, because it's too dangerous.

When asked if charges will be filed, Watson said, "That is pending right now.  But, I can tell you because it was an illegal process they were doing, there will be some charges."


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