July 24, 2013 Updated: July 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Police are investigating how a man who was found with severe burns at a Nevada Avenue motel Wednesday afternoon was injured.
Personnel at the motel, near the intersection of Nevada Avenue and Mount View Lane, called an ambulance shortly after noon for a man and woman who had arrived with burns, Colorado Springs Police Sgt. Darrin Abbink said.
Police also got a call from a nearby business on Mount View Lane about an altercation involving the burned man, Abbink said.
Both burn victims were taken to local hospitals, and the man, whose name was not released, was later taken to a Denver hospital for treatment, police said.
The man may have burned himself while attempting to extract THC from marijuana using heated pipes at a nearby creek where he'd been camping, Abbink said.
The man left several duffle bags filled with items police initially suspected were pipe bombs in front of the business on Mount View Lane. The road was shut down while police, with the help of a robot, determined that the pipes contained marijuana, not explosives.
Reuben Miller, the owner of nearby Aacme Transmissions, said he confronted the man near the business on Mount View Lane shortly after noon because he recognized him from surveillance footage taken Sunday.
In that footage, Miller said, the man was allegedly seen cutting cords from a washer and dryer outside the business and leaving with them.
"I said, 'You are stealing my stuff,'" Miller said. "He said, 'I don't have time for you. I'm going to the hospital,' and pulled out a machette."
Miller said he punched the man, who also had a hatchet, once or twice. The man eventually continued up Mount View Lane toward Nevada, he said.
Miller said he later realized the man had burns on his back and an injured thumb.
"His whole back was burned like layers of skin could come off," he said. "His thumb was hanging."
Police were unable to provide an update on the man's condition Wednesday evening.