The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

By Scott Swanson
Of The New Era 

Fire destroys Highway 228 home after power cords for marijuana grow fail

 

May 16, 2017

FIREFIGHTERS hose down a house that caught fire after extension cords used in a marijuana grow operation overheated.

A marijuana grow operation caused a fire that damaged a house and its contents at 40812 Highway 228 on Saturday, May 13.

Sweet Home Fire District responded to a report of a structure fire at 6:09 p.m., according to a department statement.

When crews arrived the homeowner reported that there was a fire in his upstairs marijuana grow room. According to county records, the property owners are Dale and Dana Meacham.

All the occupants, including nine dogs, escaped safely, Lt. Zach Lincoln said.

With assistance from Lebanon Fire Department, crews were able to knock the fire down within one hour. One apparatus remained on scene throughout the night, extinguishing hot spots hidden in void spaces.

“It was difficult,” Lincoln said. “There were a lot of additions on it. That made it difficult to extinguish.”

The fire caused significant damage to the home and most of the contents were damaged by smoke.

Lincoln said the structure was a total loss, valued at $170,000. Damage to contents, he said, was estimated at $40,000.

A joint investigation was conducted Sunday morning to determine the cause of the fire. Investigators from the Oregon State Police, Oregon State Fire Marshal, Linn County Sheriff’s office, and Linn-Benton Fire Investigation Team concluded that the fire was caused by improper use of extension cords which ran the high-powered marijuana grow lamps.

A Sweet Home Firefighter sprays water on a house that caught fire Saturday afternoon.

Lincoln said it’s particularly risky to use “multiplugs,” in which two or more outlets plug into a single wall outlet.

“Those increase the risk for fire,” he said.

Chief Dave Barringer said there was too much of a load on the extension cords, one of which ran through an aluminum wallpiece and “created a point of contact on the wire that heated and burned.”

“They are very popular and dangerous,” Barringer said of such cords.

 
 
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