MARIJUANA GROW HOUSE FIRE
Illegal wiring installed for a house set up to grow marijuana caught fire.
The house was privately tenanted, with no inspections completed over the duration of the tenancy. Attempts were made, with the tenants never being ‘home’ during the inspection attempts. Neighbours reported that they had not seen the tenants for weeks at the time of the incident.
Years after signing the lease, the five-bedroom house, which had been jury rigged internally to grow marijuana, had a fire. The tenants are nowhere to be seen and were not been able to be located following the fire.
The wiring inside the house had been modified to supply the high-power grow/hydroponic lamps required for the marijuana plants. Vents had been cut through the walls and a large number of transformers had been installed in the linen closet to supply the heat lamps. These electrical appliances had been stored in an unventilated closet, without adequate ventilation to allow the heat producing appliances to dissipate. Six rooms had been modified to grow plants, with heat shielding on the windows, plastic liners on all the floors and multiple heat lamps installed in each room.
The caretaker/tenant of the property lived in the kitchen, with a camp bed set up there. All other rooms were set up for growing plants.
The large number of transformers radiantly heated the closet and the adjacent transformers over time. In addition, the wiring to the rooms (six in the house converted to growing marijuana) was extremely complicated through the ceiling and walls from the transformers connecting to the lamps and grow rooms.
The fire’s area of origin was the closet area, however the cause itself was undetermined. This was due to the large number of transformers in the area making it impossible to identify a specific fault.
However, the likely mechanisms involved an electrical fault or failure in a transformer which spread internally upwards from the closet to the roof, and across the roof compartment before dropping down into the rooms below and continuing to burn.