ANTIOCH (CBS SF) — Firefighters responding to a Sunday afternoon house fire in Antioch got a surprise when they entered the burning building and discovered dozens of marijuana plants.

Contra Costa Fire officials said they received a call at around 2 p.m. reporting a house fire in the 2000 block of Bugle Way.

Arriving firefighters found smoke streaming out of the home and found the windows and doors barricaded. Once they busted their way into the home, they found dozens and dozens of marijuana plants spread through the house.

Fire officials say there were marijuana plants in virtually every room of the house, except in the front room where it appears some people have been sleeping in bunk beds.

“The entire 2nd floor was filled with plants in various stages. I don’t know the exact number of plants that they found,” said Battalion Chief Bob Atlas of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District told KPIX 5. “I would have to say it’s well over 50, not more than a couple hundred.”

Officials said electrical wires were rigged to get extra electricity to the hydroponic lighting system.

“What makes it illegal is not necessarily the fact that they are growing marijuana.  They may have all the permits and all the ability to grow the marijuana,” Atlas said. “But what they did in this circumstance was they were illegally using power.  So they had bypassed the electric meter and were probably not paying for their power from PG&E and they went ahead and went to the street to get their power, so that’s what makes it illegal.”

There were no injuries in the blaze which firefighters have determined began with a carelessly discarded cigarette.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman Robert Marshall said the house had sustained about $50,000 in damage and all the pot plants were destroyed.

The Antioch police are investigating the pot grow. It was not known if anyone had been detained.


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