AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – There have been more than two dozen hash oil explosions in Colorado this year, and just as many injuries. So firefighters wanted everyone to actually see how dangerous the hash oil trend can be.
Within seconds the Aurora Fire Department demonstrated how fast a hash oil explosion can happen and its obvious danger.
Butane is used to extract THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, which then creates a potent oil or butter that is odorless and can be smoked, cooked or vaped.
“The room gets filled with this butane, which is volatile,” Wendy Lippman with the Aurora Fire Department said. “Amateur and illegal (producers) of THC are also smokers and will smoke while they’re doing this.”
In 2013 drug agencies in Colorado reported 11 hash oil explosions. So far this year the number has already jumped to 26 explosions along with 27 burn injuries.
A bicycle pump shown by firefighters was actually part of an explosion involving a 16- year-old trying to make the drug.
Sgt. Pat Long with Thornton police now travels the country training first responders about how to spot hash oil labs because many firefighters and police are walking into dangerous situations while on everyday calls.
“You’re looking for butane cans, you’re looking for marijuana, you’re looking for extractions tubes, which can come in many different shapes and forms; you’re looking for Pyrex dishes and coffee filters,” Long said.
Experts say some of the explosions are so intense they can blow a house off its foundation, not only affecting the people inside, but neighbors as well.
Investigators expect in the winter months there will be an uptick of explosions because it will be cold and the people cooking the oil will likely bring their labs inside, which is very dangerous.