Spryfield grow-op goes up in smoke
By CHRIS LAMBIE Staff Reporter
There’s more than one way to smoke homegrown Spryfield bud.
Firefighters called to a duplex at 19 Kidston Rd. at 9:45 a.m. Sunday found a small blaze and marijuana plants growing in the basement.
"It’s not a huge thing," Platoon Chief Bryson Wilson said of the illegal crop shortly after the fire was extinguished.
Firefighters don’t dabble in law enforcement, he said.
"Our job is basically to find the fire, put the fire out and then basically work with the police department," he said.
"The majority of the fire was in the basement area of the house, and there’s smoke and water damage to the house."
Two people were arrested at the residence.
A 48-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man are expected to appear in Halifax provincial court today on charges of possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.
Police said the illegal product has an estimated street value of over $200,000.
The building, assessed at $182,400, is owned by Catherine Susan Howard. She could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Her neighbour, Rodney Kirby, said he was surprised to hear there was a marijuana grow-op in the neighbourhood.
"I had no idea," Mr. Kirby said. "They seemed like ordinary, nice people to us."
Local firefighters have tripped over several marijuana-growing operations.
"We’ve had a number of them happening over the last little while," Platoon Chief Wilson said.
"A lot of times, (it’s because) people don’t wire (them correctly).
"They’re using extension cords that aren’t rated for longtime use and things like that."
Firefighters put out the blaze, then call the cops.
"It basically turns into a police matter afterwards," Platoon Chief Wilson said.
The grow op fires are usually pretty easy to extinguish, he said.
"If it’s in a cluttered area and has a lot of fuel around it, then you can have potential for quite a large fire," he said. "But most of the time, the fires are caused electrically. So we get some small damage with a fire with extension cords that burns a little bit of the materials around it. (Generally), no major structural damage is caused by them, but it has the potential to do that."
There are much larger marijuana-growing operations out there than the one that burned Sunday, Platoon Chief Wilson said.
"People have rented houses in far-off areas and the (power) meter is just constantly running, burning lights to grow the drugs," he said. "Nobody lives in the house. Somebody just goes every now and again and checks it. (People say), ‘Oh, the nice neighbours. Nobody’s home.’ But they’re just potential drug operations."
This month, a judge in Amherst provincial court heard how a fire occurred at a Springhill man’s home while he was in jail for another crime. Firefighters battling the blaze discovered a marijuana-growing operation in his home.
A year ago, firefighters tripped on a pot grow op in the basement of a bungalow in Newburne, Lunenburg County.
"We held our breath," Chief John Yates of the Cornwall & District Fire Department joked at the time.
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