Neighbor whose home was damaged by Littleton hash oil explosion carried child from burning townhome

LITTLETON - After hearing a hash oil explosion and seeing the resulting flames, a neighbor carried a child from the burning home, newly released documents reveal.

The explosion occurred Saturday evening at 6712 South Independence St. in Littleton, one of a group of eight connected townhomes. The neighbor who rescued the child lives in a townhome that shared a wall with 6712.

The neighbor told police that he ran out the back door after the explosion and saw flames. He banged on the door of his neighbor's home, which was opened by a woman.

Inside, he told police he saw the flames in the kitchen and the 4-year-old in the living room.

-- Investigation and arrest

Hash oil production with butane was previously cited as the cause of the explosion, but the new affidavit reveals that the suspect was the one who told officers about the cause. Corbin Neil Braithwaite, 34, is described as having singed hair on his arms and face when he told the Sergeant he was using "butane to cook some wax" that had ignited.

Braithwaite also allegedly "told one of the paramedics that he was cooking 'hash'" and later told another officer he had learned how to do this on the Internet.

Inside the townhome, the affidavit indicates that the fire investigator found several butane bottles and 1-pound propane bottles.  The fire investigator reported the explosion and fire was caused by "the rapid combustion of butane gas used in the production of hash oil."

The affidavit continues, "To purge the butane from the hash oil product a Pyrex bowl was placed on the right front burner of the stove and the mixture heated to speed the off gassing of the butane. The butane migrated to an ignition source resulting in the explosion/fire."

The woman, the rescued child and an infant were all uninjured in the explosion. Braithwaite was rushed to a Swedish Hospital for treatment.

Inside the neighbor's home, the affidavit says, a wall was cracked and a picture frame was blown off its hook by the concussion of the blast in the adjoining townhome.

Investigators also found that the inside of the home was stuffed with "piles of junk in boxes and bags" that covered the eating surface of the table and surfaces in the kitchen. The children's toys were also found scattered amongst debris on the dirty floor, the affidavit states.

Upstairs in a bedroom, the affidavit describes a blow torch on the floor, an open container of marijuana buds, a container of dried pot plants and a white plastic bag believed to contain methamphetamine.

The investigator "observed drug pipes in several locations and numerous drug items easily accessed by a mobile four year old."

In bold font, the affidavit also notes that the baby was asleep in the room directly above where the explosion and fire occurred.

Braithwaite's arrest charges include three varieties of arson, possession of 2.63 grams of methamphetamine and two counts of child abuse. He posted a $10,000 cash/surety bond, meaning he was not in court Thursday morning.

He is scheduled to next appear in court on May 12.

A social services worker was given a court order to take custody of the two children.

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