Glenn Hilley, with Steamboat Association Management, takes pictures of the damage caused by an explosion Thursday at a unit at The Pines Condominiums in Steamboat Springs.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Glenn Hilley, with Steamboat Association Management, takes pictures of the damage caused by an explosion Thursday at a unit at The Pines Condominiums in Steamboat Springs.

4 transported to hospital after explosion at The Pines condominiums



An explosion was reported Thursday evening at The Pines Condominiums in Steamboat Springs. It is suspected the explosion happened while teens were making a marijuana concentrate called ear wax.

— At least four people were injured in an explosion Thursday evening inside a unit at The Pines condominiums in Steamboat Springs.

The condo’s occupants, one female and three males who are 15 to 18 years old, were transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center, Sgt. Rich Brown said. One of the teens was flown to a Front Range hospital for advanced treatment, he said.

Police think the explosion happened while the teens were making a marijuana concentrate called ear wax, Assistant Police Chief Bob DelValle said.

Marijuana use and possession is illegal in Colorado for those younger than 21.

The explosion occurred at about 6 p.m. on the top floor of the three-story building.

"I was just sitting in my apartment when I felt the whole building shake," said Randy Phariss, who lives in the building at 435 Ore House Plaza.

Witness reported some of the victims went to the hospital by private vehicle. One teen was taken by ambulance with burns to his legs, face and arms, according to Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Capt. Michael Arce.

"The explosion was big enough to blast out the back windows," he said.

DelValle said the parents of one of the explosion victims own the condo. Police on Thursday night were in the process of getting a warrant to search the condo and gather evidence.

Josh Taylor, a resident on the bottom floor of the building, works at the Rocky Mountain Remedies marijuana dispensary in Steamboat. He said he frequently manufactures the ear wax marijuana concentrate at the dispensary and said the process involves using butane to extract the active ingredients from the marijuana. Heat also is used in the process.

"It's such a volatile process," Taylor said, adding that precautions need to be taken when making the concentrate. "We have huge ventilation fans. We have no metal that will spark."

The explosion caused the sprinkler system to go off inside the condo, which caused damage in addition to the blast.

Glenn Hilley, with Steamboat Association Management, brought tarps and ECOS Environmental & Disaster Restoration arrived to remove the water. It was unclear whether residents in units below the condo where the explosion took place would be able to return to their homes Thursday night.

"They're probably not," Hilley said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email


Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Interesting how marijuana which is so often described as a natural herb has processed forms using nasty chemicals such as butane.

The same people that would be so concerned with chemicals like butane being released into the environment as part of a fracking operation are willing to use the same chemicals with their marijuana.


Brian Kotowski 2 years, 8 months ago

Ear wax. If the objective was to come up with the most unappealing label possible, they succeeded.


JJ Southard 2 years, 8 months ago

Wow, what a tragic event. Where are your children, parents? Does a parent or adult live in this brand new condo? Or is the 18 yr old renting it? Who's the parents of these youngsters? This situation is terrrrible. This 18 yr old ruined his own life & pretty much took 3 innocent kids with him.

This is no joke. My condolences to the families involved, but I shake my finger in disgust of where parenting has gone in this country.


Brian Kotowski 2 years, 8 months ago

Jayme's 1st hand account of the incident, and my response of 'glad you're ok & hope they throw the book at 'em' gets deleted? Seriously?


Andy Sturgell 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey Brian - I'm Jayme's roomie. He and I had talked and we decided that it'd probably be best to not comment on all the details publicly just yet out of sensitivity and also due to the legal issues that are surrounding the case. The website moderator didn't remove his comment due to flagging or anything like that - Jayme had requested that they remove it. I know he did appreciate your kind words though!

In any case, it was a crazy event to be sure...very unfortunate. Glad all the kids lived through it, and certainly hope that some lessons can be learned.


Jayme Romero 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank you very much Brian! I believe you we're the guy we talked to a bit yesterday when it happened correct? So you know pretty much what happened.


mark hartless 2 years, 8 months ago

So what were you guys saying about how weed is the "safe" drug?

I think some people can find a way to make cotton balls lethal.

They probably didn't read all the "lawyer-speak" in the fine print on whatever almost put them in orbit. If only there were more regulations this wouldn't have happened.


jerry carlton 2 years, 8 months ago

Have the parents pay for all the damage. Maybe then they will pay more attention to an 18 year old who is an adult but seems to have some major problems.


rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Jerry!! 'Sup? I don't see what the big deal is; so some kids ditched Science in schoool, they learned, see if they do that again. Just take it out of their allowance.

I haven't had much to say since Tulo went down, feel sorta guilty now -- but they're doing okay without him, eh?


rhys jones 2 years, 8 months ago

Mark -- While I know you are being facetious -- you the regulations proponent -- I think you may be on to something. We don't need more regulations -- there are plenty of those already, and then some -- we need more WATCHERS. How did this get by the NSA? Were they sleeping? Surely earwax is a credible threat to our Union. We have the technology; we could record every phone call, monitor every email, snail mail too, scrutinize every camera, every spy satellite -- but who has the TIME? We need more SNOOPS. Put 'em on the Federal payroll, get 'em off unemployment, let the Chinese pay for it, and catch these crooks!!

If a camera is running, but nobody is watching -- does it make a picture? (tape doesn't count; that's a watcher)


Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

I think Mark was being clever by mentioning cotton balls because cotton balls are used to make dynamite.. So yes, some people did find a way to make cotton balls lethal. :)

And it is not the marijuana that is dangerous in this case, but butane.

I expect that neighboring condo owners will have a say because most condo agreements have provisions against this sort of thing. I'd guess the condo association can force them to sell the condo after this incident. Neighbors don't want to have to worry about what is going on in an adjacent unit and whether their neighbors will blown them up as well next time.


jerry carlton 2 years, 7 months ago

Rhys Rockies won 5 to 2 today. San Fran comes in at end of month. Hoping for a sweep here.


mark hartless 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes Rhys,

We can record every phone call, every e-mail, track every persons location via cell phone...

Yet nobody in the gubbamint can find 11 million illegal aliens. They can keep ME out of anywhere they don't want me; literally HEAR my footsteps when I approach area 51 from miles away. But they somehow can't keep 100,000 people/ month from crossing an established line in the sand.,

and neither Hillary nor the head of the IRS nor the head of the NSA nor the head of the Justice Dept nor the FBI can seem to recall, remember, or track down THEIR OWN communications which would incriminate them...

Isn't that ironic, considering this was going to be "the most transparent administration since... bla bla bla..."



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