Marijuana grow house discovered at site of San Francisco fire

March 6, 2013 11:54:52 AM PST
A San Francisco firefighter is being treated for injuries after a fire in the Sunset District. Flames broke out in a building on 8th Avenue at Noriega Street. And now fire investigators have learned there was a marijuana grow inside.

Officials say the firefighter will be okay. They say he fell inside the three story home and hurt his shoulder. He's being treated at the hospital now.

No one else hurt and no one had to be rescued. No people were inside the home, but investigators did find something inside the apartment -- marijuana.

The fire department says the entire home was a massive grow house; two floors were dedicated to growing marijuana plants, while the other was solely for drying them.

The fire broke out Wednesday just after 8 a.m. A neighbor saw smoke and called 911. Investigators say the cause is likely electrical. They believe whoever was operating this overrode the home's electrical system and that somehow sparked a fire. Officials say this is typical of a grow house.

The homes are attached and it was windy, which was a real danger to homes on either side of the fire.

"Very dangerous to mess around with this electricity," SFFD Lt. Mindy Talmadge said. "As you can see, this is oftentimes the result. There were families living in homes on either side, could have potentially led to some serious injuries."

"Around this neighborhood it's pretty expensive to live over here," neighbor Eileen Rizzo said. "So you would think it wouldn't happen over here. It's quiet, a lot of families with children here. But, no where's safe I guess."

It took crews almost an hour to put out the fire. Major damage was done to the grow house, the fire chief estimates $1.5 million worth of damage.

Homes on either side were also damaged, but that was minor and they are still habitable

One of the next door neighbors, who didn't want to go on camera, told me he was always suspicious of the house. He said he could smell the marijuana but couldn't tell who lived there because there were always different people coming and going.

Police are on scene to start the investigation into the grow house.


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