Crime

Mar 2, 2014 9:52 PM by Tony Spehar

Apartment explosion blamed on 51-year-old man making hash oil

A 51-year-old man was arrested on Saturday night after police say he caused an explosion in his apartment while attempting to make hash oil.

Just before 10 p.m. the Colorado Springs Fire and Police Departments were called to an explosion at the Westview Apartments on the 300-block of University Drive. They found a third-floor apartment with its windows blown-out and glass that had been thrown across the parking lot.

"Out of nowhere we heard just this big boom and then glass shattering," described Theresa Hosford, who lives next door to the apartment. "My first instinct was to go check and make sure my children hadn't broken windows or anything."

Hosford said she and her husband walked out to find glass strewn across their balcony and their neighbor's windows and window frames blown-out. Tera Woodhull, who lives on the first floor of the building, said almost everyone living in the complex could hear and feel the blast.

"It shattered through all the apartments, people way down there felt it and heard it and everything, we didn't know if it was a shotgun or not," Woodhull explained. "I mean it sounded like somebody just like knocked over something in our apartment, that's how loud it was."

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department Lee Brown, 51, was allegedly attempting to make hash oil with butane inside his apartment which caused the explosion. There was also a 29-year-old inside the apartment at the time of the explosion, but both he and Brown escaped without injuries.

Butane hash oil is made by soaking marijuana in butane, which strips-out a potent oil that can be smoked. The process is dangerous because butane fumes can collect and ignite, especially if the butane is removed from the plants by boiling it off. Hash oil explosions as a result of amateurs attempting to make it have become more common across Colorado over the past year, just last December a Colorado Springs man was badly burned while making hash oil.

"It really did upset me," said Theresa Hosford. "If the explosion had been any bigger he could've damaged my apartment, the apartment on the other side and the person below."

Other neighbors shared the same concern and anger that somebody would do something so dangerous to make hash oil, which can be legally purchased.

"I'm glad he got arrested and went to jail, because that kind of stupidity could've put a lot of lives at risk," explained Tera Woodhull. "Everybody here, we just try and keep to ourselves and work and stuff and then we have this happen."

Lee Brown is facing charges of unlawful possession and manufacturing of a controlled substance and other charges connected to marijuana and marijuana concentrate. As well as a charge for keeping, maintaining, controlling, renting or making available property for unlawful distribution or manufacture of controlled substances and also reckless endangerment.

(Photo Courtesy of Tera Woodhull)

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