By Alfa · Sep 11, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa
    Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)

    Play with fire and you're going to get burned. Especially when you've
    got a pot plantation growing in your basement and you set your house
    ablaze while trying to turn marijuana into hashish.

    That's what happened to Richard Bate, 44.

    First he got minor facial burns when a pot of alcohol on a stove
    caught fire and yesterday he got a $2,500 fine and a nine-month
    conditional sentence to be served in the community after pleading
    guilty to growing marijuana.

    Court heard the Edmonton fire department responded to a March 5, 2003,
    fire at a 4911 105B St. home occupied by Jerry Helm and his common-law
    wife Donna Wright.

    Investigators ruled the $100,000 blaze was caused by a pot of alcohol
    on the stove catching fire. While putting out the flames, firefighters
    discovered a marijuana grow operation in the basement with about
    $20,000 worth of plants.

    Court heard Bate, a journeyman scaffolder who works in Fort McMurray,
    did not live at the rental home, but was paying Helm to grow the marijuana

    On the day of the fire, the two men were using isopropyl alcohol to
    convert marijuana into hashish in a pot, and when the pot caught on
    fire on the stove the two men suffered minor facial burns.

    Helm, 38, was earlier given a 90-day sentence to be served on weekends
    and nine months probation after pleading guilty to possession of pot
    for the purpose of trafficking.

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