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Where there’s smoke, there’s weed

Readers who grew up in the 1970s might be tempted to think Cheech and Chong had come to town after a house full of marijuana caught fire at approximately 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday.

L.A. County Fire responded to a report of smoke coming from a residence located in the 4100 block of New Hampshire. When the fire department entered the home, they discovered not only an attic fire, but a large marijuana grow as well.

Claremont Police Department obtained a search warrant to conduct a further search of the home. Officers found every room of the home filled with marijuana plants and removed 1610 plants in various stages of growth with a rough street value estimated to exceed $1 million dollars.

“The fire was most likely caused by the unpermitted electrical wiring. The home was filled with jerry-rigged wiring used to power special lighting and air filtration systems, including wiring that bypassed the electrical meter and circuit breakers,” Claremont police said in a statement adding that the extreme measures used to illegally grow the marijuana endangered the neighborhood.

The electrical power to the residence was disconnected to eliminate the hazard for the public.

The city’s building inspector has “red tagged” the home deeming it unsafe to occupy. L.A. County Fire hazardous materials inspectors also were on scene. The property was rented as a fully furnished home and was seriously damaged by the black market marijuana grow.

The investigation remains active and police are attempting to determine who was responsible for the grow and how much it is worth.

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