Firefighters discover marijuana grow inside Fresno home

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Fresno firefighters responded to flames in the 3200 block of North Valentine a little after 7 a.m. after receiving multiple calls from people seeing smoke. (KFSN)

A marijuana grow house caught fire early Monday and burned for several hours in west-central Fresno.

Fresno firefighters responded to flames in the 3200 block of North Valentine a little after 7 a.m. after receiving multiple calls from people seeing smoke.

Firefighters say nobody was inside the home, but they found a dead dog inside that they pulled out of the flames. They say upon entering the burning home, they noticed almost all living space on the first floor was designated to growing marijuana.

"Very, very dangerous," Lt. Joe Gomez with the Fresno Police Department said. "A lot of things in there that are flammable."

Authorities say this is one of the worst types of fires they can respond to because there are so many unknowns. Capt. Pete Martinez says because of the amount of danger and property manipulation in order to grow the marijuana, they had to pull crews out before they could make it to the second floor.

"We had a lot of significant hazards as a result of that operation with the chemicals the air conditioning units as well as the electronics and fertilizers inside," he explained.

Martinez says about an hour and a half into the fire, a gas tank exploded inside, causing walls to buckle out. No firefighters got hurt, but he says it was one of the reasons they pulled crews out when they did.

"I heard it," neighbor Patrick Hickey said. "I was in my backyard in the shop and all of a sudden a big loud boom came out and everything rattled on my walls."

Another neighbor says drug activity has been going on in the rented out house for quite some time, and they're glad they won't have to deal with it any longer.

Police say the people responsible for the fire who were growing the marijuana could be facing felony charges.

The investigation is ongoing, but authorities say this fire is an example of just how hazardous this type of activity can get.

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