Marijuana grow fires in scary TV report were out before fire crews arrived

RickSallingerFire.jpg
Rick Sallinger.
Fire officials point to recent fires at medical marijuana cultivation sites as proof of increasing dangers at such facilities, which harness loads of energy to power the fans, lights and filters needed to produce high volumes of cannabis. But are these grows really the electrical-blaze equivalent of ticking time bombs, or are the dangers being overblown?

In response to the fires, CBS4 ran a series of stories, like this one, that made grow houses sound like deadly jungles full of booby traps. Reporter Rick Sallinger leads into the package on view below by describing how much power is required by a warehouse-sized grow, then uses an incendiary quote from Denver Fire Department spokesman Lt. Phil Champagne.

"It's so smoky you can't see your hand in front of your face. Our firefighters go in there; that mesh presents an entanglement hazard. We can get a firefighter entangled, you can end up with a fatality."

Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm disrespecting firefighters, whose jobs require selflessness and can be highly dangerous. But Sallinger's reporting about two fires over the weekend didn't share some key details. Not only weren't they caused by overloading the power grid, but by the time DFD crews arrived, they weren't fires at all.

The first fire was at River Rock Wellness on York Street in North Denver. The shop released a written statement that blames a faulty electrical breaker for the incident, and notes that the fire was "immediately dealt with" by staff. One source tells us the flames were pretty much confined to a breaker panel and had already been extinguished by the arrival of fire department personnel, who were called strictly as a safety measure.

The release also points out that the Denver Building Department and the Denver Fire Department approved the grow facility as recently as last month. A representative later told Westword that the grow isn't even operating at half the electrical capacity for which they've been approved.

A similar situation happened on Sunday night at an unrelated grow facility on Brighton Boulevard. Denver firefighters were called out, and news cameras from CBS4 caught the ensuing rush on camera from the street.

Although the flashing lights from the trucks and dozen or so firemen milling around the scene made it look like a four-alarm grow-house fire, a source associated with the grow says it was actually a very minor incident.

The source, who asked not to be named, says the fire could have happened to anyone, and that it had nothing to do with overloading circuits with thousands of watts of energy for lights. A standard power strip like the kind you can purchase at a hardware store shorted out, increasing the electrical output to an oscillating fan to the point where the cable ignited and set the fan on fire.

The fire caused minor charring to a modest section of a single wall, as well as burning a few plants in the early stages of vegetation. before being put out by grow room staffers who saw the blaze early on. To be safe, he says the staff decided to call the fire department to make sure the fire had been completely put out. However, since grow was operating on temporary papers at the time of the fire, city officials have shut it down until the proper permits are attained.

Still, there was no blinding smoke and no risk of firefighters becoming entangled in mesh. But that's not made clear in the CBS4 report. Watch it here.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Pat Robertson "endorses" Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Amendment 64" and "Marijuana: Englewood MMCs not serving minors, but many bars, restaurants did."


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44 comments
Guesto
Guesto

MLC and you are just fine. Extensions cords are bad. 

RiverRock MMC
RiverRock MMC

RiverRock Statement Regarding March 3, 2012 Electrical Malfunction

As a heavily regulated business operating per Colorado law, RiverRock has installed extensive video monitoring, security measures, and protocols to ensure the safety of our employees, patients, and the physical integrity of our facilities. All of our facilities are built to code and have passed all required inspections from both the Denver Building Department and the Denver Fire Department as recently as February, 2012.On Saturday March 3, 2012 a defective circuit breaker created a small electrical malfunction at out York street facility. Our trained staff immediately corrected the issue and very minimal damage was caused. RiverRock's safety protocols mandate that the Denver Fire Department be called in any such situation. We thank the Fire Department for its professionalism and assistance in dealing with this incident. A full review of the incident confirms that all building codes and safety protocols were met by our licensed staff.RiverRock remains committed to providing its patients with the high quality - lab tested - all organic medical cannabis products, formulating effective treatment plans for patients, and setting the standard for legal compliance and operational transparency in the State of Colorado.www.riverrockcolorado...

mike
mike

Rick Sallinger is not a responsible journalist who regularly needs to blow stories out of proportion to make it seem like he has a story at all. I really despise his general lack of intelligence and tact. I will celebrate his retirement more than he will. 

Joseph, 303 Organics
Joseph, 303 Organics

Ya know, things are bad enough and to boot we get to contend with prohibitionist reporters who have direct contact with thousands of viewers and hold some influence over those with no brains of their own. Fantastic(I hate how I can't convey sarcasm thru text). Pound em with emails and such and demand the truth be told. They renege on their commitments to tell the truth so we should call them on it and demand the truth be told. Aye.

http://303organics.com/

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Well of course you can't produce hysterical rhetoric without hysteri, duh. The only tools that the prohibitionists have are bald faced lies, half truths and hysterical rhetoric so we really can't expect them to stick to reality.

Lawrence Herbert
Lawrence Herbert

Outdoor grow operations are environmentally friendly and produce the best Cannabis.  Indoor grow operations waste electricity and are the result of a paranoid and twisted enforcement system.   Be Wise - Legalize (and grow with organic sunlight).

Cory
Cory

Thanks, William, for bringing out the truth in this report. 

I see this news station sending out misinformation on a regular bases.  When the report involves cannabis, Rick Sallinger is usually involved and as usual is spinning a negative view even to the point of just short of lying.

Too bad he can't be forced to run the story again with the truth.  The good news is that he and his kind are fast becoming the minority.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

#1 cause of Residential House fires in Mendocino county.

Cannadude
Cannadude

Over cooked turkeys cause thousands of fires every thanksgiving.

Stan
Stan

Extension cords are fine.  Just don't plug power strips into other power strips that are fed by extension cords.  One device, one extension cord, one outlet port.  One power strip, multiple devices, but no extension cords or other power strips on original power strip.  Happy growing!

Scandal
Scandal

 Just hire a electrician must of them including me are smokers and would love to make your house or warehouse safe just don't plugin additional equipment when we leave.

Publius Ceasar
Publius Ceasar

Sorry I can't agree with you on that Lawrence. Outdoor grown organic can be quite good, but the outdoor environment leads to all kinds of contaminants - dust, mold spores, insect and their eggs, bird feces - you get the idea. I will readily admit that the bouquet, flavor and psychoactive effects are richer, subtler and seems to cover more "notes" if you will.

However, indoor grown cannabis in a properly designed and operated grow, whether organic in soil or hydroponic, is cleaner, has far fewer contaminants and can be far more consistent in terms of cannabinoid levels, time-to-harvest, and yield. Now keep in mind the chief caveat - a properly designed and operated grow. Very few are. We're still fighting the "two-hippies-in-a-basement" methods and the large scale grows run by former black-market types who spray pesticides, fungicide and whatnot on the plants and who almost certainly don't employ HEPA filters on intake air.

I would gladly stand my indoor hydroponic product against anything you grow outdoors any day of the week.

The Spleen
The Spleen

 Got proof for that? Didn't think so: you have proven yourself repeatedly to be a liar and a provocateur. Please, stop spreading your fucking garbage all over these boards. You have nothing positive to add to the discussion.

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

You sure about that?  I thought most bud in Mendo was grown outdoors.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

... by stoners who passed out and forgot to check the oven.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

***** Pot growing causes 1 in 10 Santa Rosa building fires ******

Nearly one in 10 structure fires this year has been linked to the lights, fans, generators and other systems used to grow pot, several fire agencies say.

So prevalent is the problem that the Santa Rosa Fire Department plans to start billing property owners for fires linked to the negligence often found with indoor marijuana growing.

“It's really created a high number of building fires for us,” Battalion Chief Jack Piccinini said. “It's not just residences. The last one was in a small warehouse.”

In Santa Rosa, nine of the 90 structure fires so far this year were linked to pot. At least three of 43 structure fires in the Rincon Valley fire district and two of 32 in Windsor this year were related to indoor pot production, according to the Central Fire Authority, which serves the two fire districts.

In almost all cases, the electrical wiring did not meet legal requirements

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/a...

Sanderson771
Sanderson771

 Donkey is a narc. i thought everyone on here knew that!

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Logic = FAIL

1) Most marijuana in Mendo may in fact be outdoor bud.

AND

2) #1 cause of residential house fires in Mendo county are indoor pot grows.

What part don't you comprehend ?

brian sheller
brian sheller

....Or was it drunks too busy beating their wives?

...Or asshole pigs too busy trolling news websites?

Let's hear ya squeal!

Publius Ceasar
Publius Ceasar

 Agreed - if you're growing 4 plants in a closet, that's one thing. If you have a dozen lights, you damn well better have the place wired fully to code. If not, you'll never pass inspection as a legal grow (be aware most commercial controllers and lights are NOT UL approved and so can't be used in a legal grow.)

Now if you're doing it black market, you don't have to worry about inspections, but you're a total fool if you don't have the place properly wired and plumbed to code - you're begging for a fire, a flood and overall nastiness. Perhaps I should mention a grower I knew in Oregon back in the early 90's - he was electrocuted, his house partially burned down and his wife was severely burned. Of course DEA seized the property from the widow.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Translation: You got caught spewing a blatant lie -- "Extension cords are fine" -- then lied again in a pathetic attempt to cover your patently false assertion.

You = Fail

Stan
Stan

Nah.  I happen to like the fire marshal.  He's a cool guy and takes his job seriously.  I wouldn't want some internet riff-raff bothering a real professional on my account.  You're just a fucking putz internet troll, Laura.  By the way, Laura, only putzes rely solely on the NEC.  A competent, literate, and safety-minded individual is aware of OSHA regulations and the need for consumers to read up on manufacturer specifications (to which many portions of the NEC suggest consulting for amp and voltage information).   Daisy chains of cords and power strips are considered to be used in a manner inconsistent with their design and if you were any kind of professional who knew what you were talking about, you'd agree.  Like I said... You're an ignorant putz internet troll.  

Guest
Guest

 you seem like a miserable fucking person.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Name the "Fire Marshal" that supposedly gave you this advice so we can confirm you are lying, or have the incompetent "fire marshal" demoted and sent back to review the NEC.

Stan
Stan

Shut up, Laura.  This "poor advice" came from a fire marshal.  I'd trust a fire marshal over your dumb ass any day.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Rather poor advice.

Read the Electrical Code ... or hire a licensed Electrician.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Oh look, another fantasizing fanboy for Laura.

Transient
Transient

What are you doing out of the kitchen, Laura?

Guesto
Guesto

whatever Laura. 

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Hotay, marijuana makes me feel love and kindness since you are inquiring.  I'd like to get you started with some Trainwreck bud and fine bubble hash.  Calling people stupid all the time makes me worry that your heart is heavy son.  Join my hand and embrace me and my herbs and I will help you lighten your load and smile through your words.  Love and kindness are just around the corner for you my friend.  I pray and smoke for you on this Saturday morning.  You are a beautiful person and the world loves you.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

#1 cause of fires =/= most fires ... you pig-ignorant pothead.

Does marijuana make people like you stupid, or are stupid people like you drawn to marijuana?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Guest
Guest

a) Santa Rosa is not in Mendo countyb) 1/10 fires is not "most" fires. it's 10 percent. (c) You continue to be a big bag of epic fucking fail.

what part don't you comprehend?/marijuana + math= FAIL/why do you hate america?/put down the bong/pureile pot clown/blah blah blah blah blah.  

you suck at your own game.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

You make the perfect Poster Boy for the Marijuana movement.

Stay the Course!

Fairhill
Fairhill

Donkey dick breath is a RAGING ALCOHOLIC, her substance of choice.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Funny, Steve Elliot at TOTT claims I'm Kathleen.

At least one of you delusional stoners must be wrong.

Guesto
Guesto

wow yup you are totally Laura lol. 

Killroy
Killroy

 Yes, you are Laura Khiro of CTI.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

I'm not Laura, you poor pathetic paranoid pothead.

She must be one hot hippie chick with so many stoners constantly fantasizing about her.

Killroy
Killroy

 Donkey_hotay is not a he, it is a she. As in Laura Khrio, of the Cannabis Therapy Institute..

Robert Chase spilled the beans on her new "identity"

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

We must love our fellow commentors regarless of their opinion.  The current pot circus in our state is bound to bring out the worst in many.  Donkey_Hotay's message is a solid one and easy to understand.  He sought out an outlet to vent his emotions and we must embrace him for opening up to the world his feelings on these message boards.  High Country Caregiver seeks out a smoke session with Donkey_Hotay one day in the future to share in love and kindness and help this commenter determine his true feelings for the cannabis movement in Colorado.  I wouldn't be surprised if he just needs some guidance in his thoughts and you will then see a commenter with a huge heart and lots of love for all.

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