Man arrested in connection with Timnath explosion

Ty Betts

Booking photo of a male in a white t-shirt
Michael Lee Williams was arrested for an explosion that occurred in Timnath on June 13. (Photo courtesy of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office)

At the bottom of a narrow 20-foot tunnel leading to an underground bunker, an explosion occurred harming three individuals that is thought to have been caused by making hash oil and smoking marijuana, according to a press release by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

Police suspect the explosion, which occurred on June 13 in Timnath, was caused by Michael Lee Williams. Williams was  also accompanied by another adult and a juvenile. All three were severely burned but were treated and are no longer in the hospital.    


The press release, published Tuesday by LCSO, stated that the tunnel and below ground bunker took months to complete and was described as a tornado shelter. On the day of the explosion, Williams had taken butane into the bunker to make hash oil and later went to light a marijuana cigarette when the explosion occurred, according to the release.

LCSO’s Public Information Officer David Moore said the intent for the underground bunker, which was located within 40-feet of Williams house, is unclear.

“I haven’t heard of anything like this before,” Moore said. “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and we are just not aware of it.”

Williams was arrested on the following charges:

  • Child Abuse (Class 3 Felony)
  • Child Abuse (Class 3 Felony)
  • First Degree Assault (Class 3 Felony)
  • Extraction of Marijuana Concentrate (Class 2 Drug Felony)
  • Fourth Degree Arson (Class 4 Felony)
  • Child Abuse (Class 2 Misdemeanor)

Moore said the juvenile and the other adult will not face charges. Moore said the other adult may have been under the impression he was just helping build the tornado shelter.  

“He is a victim and a witness to the offense, so there is no reason to charge him with anything,” Moore said.  

The child abuse charges Williams faces are for his supposed actions leading to the child getting burned, as well as for the the manufacturing of a controlled substance in the presence of a child, according to Moore.

Moore said high levels of carbon monoxide and butane made it difficult to investigate the interior of the bunker.

Williams made bond for $25,000 and has not yet been found guilty.

Collegian news reporter Ty Betts can be reached at or on Twitter @TyBetts9.