Explosion suspects arrested

Barbara Lawlor, Boulder County.  Last month, two men involved in last year’s hash-oil explosion that destroyed a Big Springs home were arrested on charges related to the fire. David Smith, 21, was charged with the sale and distribution of marijuana, fourth-degree arson and two counts of possession of marijuana concentrate. David Jonas, 55, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful extraction of marijuana.

Two other men who were in the house at the time and suffered burns on up to 75 percent of their bodies were issued warrants for their arrest. Nicholas McBurney and Christopher Hamm are out of state.

According to the arrest affidavit, the explosion was sparked when one of the men walked into the garage carrying a lit marijuana joint while holding a butane torch in the other. When Nederland officers arrived at the scene, the garage was engulfed in flames. Two men escaped the house and asked for help. They were treated in a Nederland ambulance and then taken to a medical evacuation helicopter.

Nederland Fire Prevention Officers doused the flames and chopped through the roof to get to the fire that had spread throughout the interior. Although McBurney said he didn’t know anything about the hash oil operation, it was learned that he had communicated about distilling butane over his cell phone.

Jonas, who rented the house, admitted he knew about the equipment that was kept there. He is being held at the Boulder County Jail on a $25,000 bond and Smith is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Nederland Police Department Detective Darragh O’Nuallain and Police Officer David Stage, along with Boulder County Sheriff’s Office deputies,  arrested Smith and Jonas following NPD’s investigation of the house explosion and fire that occurred on July 25, 2016.