PARKER — Aurora and South Metro fire investigators blew the walls, windows and door off a small structure Wednesday during a demonstration of a home explosion caused by the illegal production of hash oil.
Aurora Fire Captain Wendy Lippman said there have been seven home explosions in Aurora since October 2013 because of illegal hash oil manufacturing.
“Some of the injuries that we see are second-degree burns, and some are actually glass injuries because of the shrapnel,” Lippman said. “We haven’t had any fatalities.”
The demonstration was done to deter people from making hash oil inside their homes, a practice that is on the rise in Colorado.
“Although marijuana is legal, the production of hash oil outside an unapproved facility is not,” Lippman said.
The 8-by-8 plywood structure was set up outside the South Metro Fire Authority Training Center at 17801 Plaza Drive. Firefighters filled the sealed room with four cans of butane gas and left a slow-burning fuse inside to simulate someone smoking marijuana or tobacco while manufacturing hash oil.
Within seconds, the structure exploded and caught fire.
In many home-based hash extractions, people load glass or metal tubes with pot and then inject a can of butane through one end of the tube to use as a solvent to produce the oil.
“If you do this and you don’t know what you’re doing, this is what could happen; your home could explode,” said Robin Peterson, manager of the Aurora Marijuana Enforcement Division. “You’re putting everyone at risk.”
Megan Mitchell: 303-954-2650, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/MMitchelldp