Posted: 3:07 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

CoCo Fire: too many fires caused by pot grows

Fire at house night (file)
Fire at house night (file)

By Tara Moriarty


Concerned about an increase in house fires involving illegal marijuana grows, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District held a press conference on Wednesday to show the dangers of illegal grows.


The district said they’ve seen an increase of house fires and burn injuries not only in Contra Costa County, but in the entire Bay area. Last year, CCCF was called to 30 house fires involving marijuana grows and firefighters say they’ve been forced to change their tactics since many grow houses bypass the electrical meter and create a hazard.


“They want to stay off the radar and lessen their footprint so PG&E is not brought into the fold,” said Capt. Robert Marshall of CCCF. “When they do that they bypass the meter which means if we go up and we turn off the breakers power is still under the house.”


Firefighters are also concerned about hash oil operations. In 2012, a San Francisco woman and her 2-year-old son were severely burned during an explosion from a hash oil operation.


Investigators say many of these grow homes are in upscale neighborhoods and they’re asking neighbors to keep a look out for unusual wiring to power boxes, boarded up windows, or a lack of landscaping. Those could be signs that they home is a grow house.

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