(John Leyba, Denver Post file)

Hash oil extraction explosion in Jeffco; 2 children in home unharmed

Two small children were in a Jefferson County townhouse that exploded while their parents were making a marijuana concentrate, sheriff’s spokesman Mark Techmeyer said Sunday.

Neither child, a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old, nor their mother were hurt by the explosion or the fire it created Saturday night.

The father has been hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Child Protection Services has placed the children with family members, Techmeyer said.

No charges have yet been filed, and authorities haven’t identified the couple. Possible charges include arson and child abuse.

“They were cooking hash oil. We haven’t been able to interview them yet,” Techmeyer said.

A variety of fuels can be used to extract cannabis resins from the plant to produce hash oil, which concentrates THC, making the oil far more powerful than the buds when they are smoked. THC is the psychoactive chemical that produces a high in users.

The process has caused a rash of explosions in Colorado and around the country.

Techmeyer said he didn’t know what the couple was using to make the oil.

“They primarily use butane, and it is not a complicated process,” Techmeyer said. “It is dangerous. Butane is a heavy gas, so fumes drop to the floor, and if you just have a little spark” there can be an explosion.

Marijuana concentrates — including a highly potent wax and a brittle substance that can be smoked, called shatter — are legal in Colorado. They can be purchased at medical and recreational marijuana shops. State licenses are required to produce the products.

The incident at 6712 S. Independence St., near Holland Way, was reported at 8:41 p.m., West Metro Fire Rescue Division Chief Gary Armstrong said.

“The fire was out when we got there. It is being evaluated. There was not much damage at all,” Armstrong said.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com