A marijuana grow operation went up in flames in the city’s southeast yesterday morning.
The routine fire call resulted in crews discovering 500 marijuana plants after firefighters quickly contained the fire in a house in the 3400 block of 33 Street SE, according to fire spokesperson Jeff Budai.
“It appears as though there is just a table in the home, and the plants were found in the basement through a makeshift door,” Budai said, adding he doesn’t believe anyone was living in the home.
While arson investigators were initially called in to assist the drug unit, investigators determined the fire was electrical in nature and was caused by overheating of the electrical ballasts used to provide electricity to the grow operation.
Insp. Kevin Forsen of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) said officials have determined the house is unsafe to enter.
“This investigation illustrates the inherent danger that marijuana grow operations pose to the community,” Forsen said.
Investigators estimate the damage to the house at $300,000 but pegged the street value of the 500 plants found in the home to be $625,000.
Officials believe the grow operation was in its early stages and not yet fully operational, they added.
No arrests have been made and police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information to contact them at 403-266-1234.