UPDATE: Up in smoke

Metchosin barn fire leads West Shore RCMP to arrest.

File photograph of firefighters approaching a burning cubicle during certified fire investigation training taking place at the Metchosin Fire Hall.

An early-morning blaze has lead police to an illegal grow operation and distillery.

Metchosin Fire department and the West Shore RCMP responded to a barn fire on the 1,300-block of Nield road in Metchosin at approximately 3:50 a.m. June 10, following calls of a ‘glow in the sky.’

The glow turned out to be a 20-foot by 40-foot barn with numerous propane bottles nearby completely ablaze. The fire led investigators to execute a search warrant of the residence where police confiscated 950 marijuana plants, some dried marijuana and approximately 700 litres of distilled alcohol inside various rooms inside the residence including a drying room.

A 43-year-old man well known to police with a history of marijuana cultivation was arrested by police.

“The structure was fully engulfed upon arrival at the scene,” said Metchosin fire chief Stephanie Dunlop in a release “Our priorities were to ensure any occupants were out of all the surrounding buildings, to protect any and all exposures and extinguishing any spot fires started from the flying embers.”

The property was also attended by the Langford and Sooke fire departments alongside B.C. Ambulance Services and B.C. Hydro who helped contained the blaze, keeping it away from the trees nearby. West Shore RCMP’s Cpl. Bob Pilot said grow operations like the one discovered in Metchosin cab pose risks both to the operators and potentially the public.

“The occupants of a marihuana grow operation are more susceptible to extortion and home invasion. These operations are targeted by criminals who commit home invasions to steal the crop,” Pilot said. “Furthermore, the high humidity and temperatures necessary for a grow room lead to the formation of damaging mould and fungus. This situation poses serious health risks to the residents along with the high risk of fires as a result of improper wiring.”

The suspect has been released from custody facing drug and custom and excise related charges and scheduled to appear at the Western Communities Courthouse Sept. 3.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

Langford could soon be seeing its first retail cannabis store

Clarity Cannabis BC Ltd. gets province’s approval

West Shore fundraiser serves up hope for kids with food allergies

Proceeds assist Oral Immunotherapy Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read