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3 People In Custody After Hash Oil Explosion

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DENVER (CBS4) – Three men are in custody after an explosion that blew out the windows at a Denver home Sunday afternoon.

The suspects have been identified as Steven Donnel, 40; Jeff Garbarek, 39; and Scott Mitchell, 43. Donnel and Garbarek were found on the front lawn when fire crews arrived. They both implicated Mitchell as having been present during the incident.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Neighbors watched as two men were taken away in handcuffs from the home on Julian Street. Earlier they said they heard a loud boom come from inside.

“Thought it maybe it was, sounded like something really heavy had fallen, thought maybe it was even a car wreck,” said a neighbor.

Outside, glass from blown out windows reached the sidewalk while walls were falling apart inside.

Investigators believe Mitchell was renting the home and the three were trying to turn marijuana into hash oil, causing the explosion.

“You put everybody at risk, your neighbors, yourself, first responders. It’s a problem, it’s dangerous,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Nuanes.

Nuanes says despite the danger they are seeing those types of explosions now more than ever. They are happening so often they’re now training specifically for those situations.

“It’s an ongoing training process that’s going on. It’s an evolving process; it’s as new to us as it is to most agencies in the state of Colorado,” said Nuanes.

James Megas lives next door and owns the property and said he rented to the men only a few weeks ago. Knowing how dangerous cooking hash oil can be he said he’s thankful things didn’t end differently.

“I’m obviously very, very glad that no one was hurt and that it wasn’t any worse than some broken windows and some damaged drywall in the basement,” said Megas.

Marijuana extract or hash oil is a pure form of THC making it more desirable among users.

Investigators said although marijuana is now legal in Colorado, the men are facing fourth-degree arson charges because they were cooking it in an illegal setting without a permit.

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