BLACK HAWK, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators have confirmed a home explosion in Black Hawk on Sunday was caused by a man making hash oil.
Leeland Baker, 60, had to be pulled from the flames. One of his dogs was able to get out, but a friend says another dog died in the fire. Baker is now at University of Colorado Hospital being treated for burns.
Baker suffered severe burns to his hands and to parts of his upper body and is listed in stable condition. He has not been charged but is under investigation for the explosion.
Neighbors say flames started shooting out of Baker’s home in Gilpin County just before noon on Sunday.
“I looked out my window and I heard the popping and I saw the smoke coming out of the chimney and I knew it wasn’t just a regular house fire,” neighbor Ryan Erickson said.
Investigators were aware that a butane tank exploded, causing the fire. Now the sheriff’s office believes Baker was using the gas to make hash oil when the home caught fire.
“It’s a total loss … I mean there is nothing salvageable from the home,” Cherokee Blake with the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office said.
Erickson saw the smoke and rushed over to find Baker struggling to get out. He was able to break through a window and pull Baker to safety.
“You can’t really put it into words. You just kick into survival mode and know that there are lives on the line,” Erickson said.
The owner of the home says Baker is a friend and had been renting the place. It’s unclear if Baker will face any charges.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t confirmed information about the second dog dying in the fire, but did say the one that was rescued, Niko, is expected to make a full recovery.