ASHLAND – Something other than a fire caught the attention of firefighters as they fought a blaze in an Ashland home last week.
On Jan. 22, the Ashland Volunteer Fire Department was called at 4:49 a.m. to a house fire at 1402 Boyd Street. While fighting the fire, firefighters found a marijuana grow operation in the house. Ashland Fire Chief Mike Meyer said plants were found in the basement and in a makeshift closet on the first floor.
A 60-year old man was arrested for manufacturing marijuana, marijuana possession with intent to deliver and possession of over one pound of marijuana.
The fire started when a cord running from the house to a vehicle outside caught fire, said Meyer.
Firefighters faced weather-related challenges when fighting the fire, Meyer said. Smoke was coming from the eaves and attic vents when the department arrived. Firefighters normally cut a hole in the roof to vent the fire, the captain said, but ice on the roof created safety concerns. Instead, they took another approach.
“It was dangerous for firefighters to get on top, so we used the aerial truck to gain access,” he said.
It took about 45 minutes to get the fire under control, but firefighters stayed on scene until about 9 a.m., Meyer said. Initially, Greenwood Fire was also called to the scene, but they had to leave when they received an emergency call.
Damage occurred on the first and second floors of the house, as well as in the attic, Meyer said. Firefighters saved about half of the home and its contents, he added, estimating the total cost of damage at $35,000.
A hot spot flared up about 24 hours after the fire, calling the department back to the home. Meyer said the department’s thermal imager was not working during the initial fire call, so they were unable to locate an ember that had fallen in between the wall and a header above a door.
The older model imager is outdated and cannot be repaired, so the department has ordered a new one, the captain added.
Meyer said several people lived in the home at the time of the fire, but everyone made it out safely. Three cats were also residents of the house, but they were too skittish to come out during the fire.