Butane extraction to capture hash oil causes explosion at Longmont house; 2 men hospitalized

LONGMONT, Colo. - Two men trying to extract hash oil from marijuana by using flammable butane gas were injured when it exploded in the garage of a Longmont home on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The blast happened about 12:40 p.m. at 30 James Circle, near Missouri Avenue and South Pratt Parkway, said Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur.

Neighbors hearing the blast ran over to help and saw the garage door was open and two men were on fire -- their clothes were burning, Satur said.

One of the men ran off and one of the men was packing and throwing things in the garbage. One of the men told the neighbors not to call police, but neighbors did.

Paramedics took two men to Longmont United Hospital -- one with severe burns who had to be transferred to a burn unit, and one man who had burns to his face, Satur said. A third man was not injured.

Investigators believe the men were extracting hash oil -- or a high concentrate of THC -- using butane. They had the marijuana highly packed and were spraying butane through the marijuana, trying to capture the oils from the pot.

But the butane vapor built up and was somehow ignited, causing the small explosion and fire, Satur said.

There was a small marijuana grow operation in the basement that was recently harvested, Satur said.

The marijuana grow was legal, but the hazardous hash oil processing is not, Satur said.

All three men now face charges of felony arson and endangerment, Satur said. They have not been identified.

The last time this type of explosion occurred in Longmont was in October 2012, when a man doing a similar THC extraction was smoking at the same time and ignited the vapors, Satur said.

Similar hash-oil processing explosions have occurred in towns around Colorado.