Steamboat Springs 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 mstensland@SteamboatToday.com