Fire crews discovered what appeared to be a marijuana grow operation while fighting a one-alarm house fire in Richmond on Thursday evening, a fire battalion chief said today. Crews arrived at the two-story house in the 3500 block of Center Avenue shortly after 5 p.m. to find the home engulfed in smoke and flames, Richmond fire Battalion Chief Merlin Turner said. Five adults living in the home safely escaped after hearing a rumbling noise from the house’s electrical wiring, Turner said.
Crews aggressively fought the blaze and were able to get it under control in about 30 minutes. Turner said fire investigators believe the fire started in the home’s electrical wiring system, which appears to have been used to power a marijuana grow operation. Fire personnel found “a few hundred” marijuana plants both inside the home and in outbuildings on the property, he said.
Both fire and police this morning continued to investigate the fire to determine its exact cause. The residents living at the home have been displaced and the American Red Cross was called to provide housing assistance for them. No injuries were reported in the fire.
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