Harwich: Cannabis factory found at flat blaze
FIRE investigators are today continuing to probe an Essex flat blaze that uncovered a cannabis factory.
Around 40 plants were discovered when crews were called to a fire at a property in Harwich.
They tackled a fire in a ground-floor flat in West Street and later called in police after the drugs were found.
An 18-year-old from Harwich has been charged with cultivating cannabis and will appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on February 17.
Two crews from Dovercourt were scrambled to the fire after an alarm was triggered at the block of flats around 7.20pm on Friday.
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Fire fighters using breathing apparatus used one hose reel to tackle the fire, which was dealt with around 20 minutes later. They reported that the flat was heavily smoke logged and made the premises safe before leaving the scene shortly before 8pm.
A joint police and fire service investigation is now underway to establish how the fire started.
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The blaze has prompted Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) to reiterate its message about the ‘growing menace’ of cannabis factories.
Gordon Hunter, deputy chief fire officer of ECFRS, said: “These cannabis factories are not only a blight on our communities they are also potential death traps for firefighters attending incidents.
“The people who operate these factories create a wide array of booby traps, so what appears to be a normal house from the outside can, in fact, be one of the most dangerous properties our crews can enter.
“The wiring of these properties make them prone to fires and it is not going to be too long before a firefighter is badly injured, or even killed, attending a fire at a cannabis factory.
“Anyone who knows the whereabouts of a property used to grow cannabis should report it to the proper authorities before there is a fire or someone is badly hurt.
“We all have a duty to our friends and neighbours to stamp this problem out. Alongside the social issues associated with this kind of operation, there is very real danger.”