A kitchen fire in a house on the corner of Hudson Bay Street and Seventh Avenue in Hope ended in the near destruction of a large home and the discovery of a grow operation.
The fire occurred at approximately 7 p.m., Saturday night, January 29.
During a follow-up investigation Sunday morning, Hope fire department chief Tom DeSorcy said that the area of origin of the fire was identified as the kitchen, and the point of origin is suspected to have been the stove.
Serious crimes investigators were also back at the home, Sunday morning.
“I’ve since learned that the occupant of the house came forward to police at the scene and admitted there was grow op in the basement and our crews were tasked to investigate and confirm,” added DeSorcy, later on Sunday evening
“As far as the fire origin is concerned, it appears the occupant was deep frying on top of the stove when it caught on fire. He apparently tried to smother the flames and then notified a lady in the house… they evacuated to a neighbours, where they called 911,” added DeSorcy.
The incident should serve as a reminder “to always exercise caution when deep fat frying at home and to never leave a pot of oil unattended.”
The night of the fire police began the process of preparing to execute a search warrant on the home, later locating “three grow rooms containing a total of 225 plants at various stages of growth,” says Corporal Lea-Anne Dunlop, on behalf of the Hope RCMP.
According to police the power and gas have been disconnected to the residence and a no-occupancy notice has been posted on the home under the District of Hope’s grow operation bylaw.
One male, age 43, who lived in the home was arrested at the scene for Production of a Controlled Substance and Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking. The suspect has been released to appear in court on Tuesday, April 12 to face charges.