Drug Arrest Made in University Apartment Explosion – UM Official Comments [YouTube]
An effort to create hash oil by heating marijuana with butane was the cause of Sunday's explosion at the University apartments on Yreka Court, near the University of Montana Golf Course Clubhouse.
According to the Missoula County Jail Roster, Patrick Wayne Austin, 24, is being held on multiple felony counts after the explosion injured himself, a female and an infant, in addition to blowing out all three windows of the apartment, and littering the surrounding area with broken glass.
Missoula police say the explosion occurred at about 4:15 p.m. and personnel from police, Missoula Fire and the Missoula Drug Task Force responded.
Austin is in jail on $300,000 bond, charged with numerous felonies, including arson, criminal child endangerment, along with drug charges that include criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs, and criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute.
Reportedly, Austin suffered second degree burns, while the female and infant in the apartment suffered first degree burns. All were treated and released from St. Patrick Hospital. Austin was arrested after being released from the hospital. He will appear in Missoula Justice Court on Tuesday.
University of Montana Vice President for Integrated Communications, Peggy Kuhr, said the unidentified female student who leased the apartment is responsible for Austin's actions, since he was her guest.
"No drugs of any kind are allowed in UM family housing," Kuhr said. "In this case, the actions of the student, who is the tenant, will be reviewed under the Student Conduct Code, and that will be referred to the Dean of Students."
Kuhr said the tenant can face a variety of consequences.
"The Dean of Students, for actions that are serious, can impose penalties that can go all the way to expulsion from the university," she said. "The university of still assessing the damage to the apartment, and attaching a value to those damages. Whatever penalties that are to be imposed will be decided by the university."
The female student, who along with her infant child received minor burns in the explosion, has not been identified, and has not yet been charged with any crime.