250 pot plants found in burning Pinole home

March 6, 2012 4:24:48 PM PST
The cause of an early morning fire at a Pinole home housing an illegal marijuana grow operation is under investigation, according to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and Pinole police.

Crews from the Rodeo-Hercules Fire District and Pinole Fire Department also responded to the structure fire in the 2900 block of Ramona Street. The blaze was reported at about 4:20 a.m.

The first arriving company, a Pinole fire engine crew, reported heavy smoke coming from the front of the one-story home.

Firefighters fought the blaze from the home's interior, where officers found some 250 marijuana plants -- with a street value of about $750,000 -- along with grow lamps and a hydroponics system, police said.

Officers determined that PG&E service to the home had been bypassed.

No one was inside and no injuries were reported.

The fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damage, but firefighters were able to save the home's living space and most of its contents, according to the fire district.

A total of 19 fire personnel responded, including four engine companies, one truck company and two battalion chiefs.

A fire protection district arson investigator and police detectives are investigating the fire's cause and the associated criminal activity, police said.

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