Weed Explosion

Three people have been arrested in connection with a house explosion last month after police determined the fire was started by a cannabis oil extraction operation in the basement. Police say two of the defendants tried to keep firefighters from entering the burning home.

Henry William Frost V

Henry William Frost V

Henry William Frost V, 22, and Thomas Luecke, 58, were each charged with fourth-degree arson and reckless endangerment. The residents of the house, Luecke and Jennifer Louise Labrecque, 52, were each charged with one count of obstructing a peace officer after witnesses said they tried to prevent firefighters from entering the house.

Thomas Luecke

Thomas Luecke

According to an affidavit, firefighters responded to a structure fire at 9 p.m. March 15 in the 4600 block of Macky Way. Frost and his friend, Rachel Rathmell — who police say was in the house but not part of the operation — had already been transported to a hospital in Boulder with serious burns and were later transferred to a burn unit in Aurora.

Luecke told police that he had hired Frost to extract cannabis oil from hemp, which he used for various medical conditions.

Cannabis oil is made by running butane or another solvent through a tube filled with hemp, leaving behind an oily liquid that can be solidified by heating the mixture to evaporate the butane.

Frost told police that he works for a hemp business in Boulder and at one point had his own business working with cannabis oils. He said he is not licensed to work with marijuana, and was not working with any during this process.

Frost did not know what had caused the explosion, but said that the system Luecke had in place was “kind of pieced together awkwardly.”

Story by Mitchell Byars