|Nearly 400 marijuana plants were found in the basement of this restaurant, My Canh, in the south Seattle neighborhood of Rainier Valley on Monday morning after an electrical fire|
A fire at a South Seattle Vietnamese restaurant led to the seizure nearly 400 marijuana plants on Monday morning.
When firefighters responded to the blaze at My Canh restaurant in Rainier Valley on Martin Luther King Jr Way South at about 8 a.m., they saw flames on the back side of the building, reports Q13 Fox News. Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said the blaze was difficult to fight because it was an electrical fire caused by the restaurant's badly-wired power system.
"After we got the fire knocked down it appeared that there was some type of illegal wiring to City Light," Moore said. "The business may have been drawing power that it illegally wired."
The electrical fire blacked out power to the entire city block, according to officials on the scene, who said it was not restored until police got a search warrant to secure the power box at the restaurant, reports KOMO. There were no reports of injuries.
One anonymous source told Toke of the Town that many -- possibly most -- illegal marijuana grow operations (as in non-medical grows) in the Seattle area are set up to steal electrical power. Power bills for some of the operations would run thousands of dollars a month if they weren't stealing electricity, our source told us.
Fire crews broke down the back door of the restaurant and followed the suspected illegal wiring down to the basement, where they discovered what appeared to be a large-scale cannabis grow operation.
"We had to make forcible entry to the building because it was locked," Moore said. "We found several hundred plants in the basement of this building." Moore claimed he "could not comment" on the type of plant discovered, which seems a bit silly.
The Seattle Police Department confirmed that it was marijuana plants and called their narcotics units to the scene. About 400 plants were found in the basement, said Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson, reports Jennifer Sullivan at the Seattle Times.
Seattle Public Utilities crews were also called in to investigate the alleged illegal routing of city power to the grow operation in the basement. Jamieson said the fire was caused by "electrical power that was illegal diverted."
The building owner told fire investigators that he had been leasing the basement space out, and said he didn't know about the marijuana grow operation below his restaurant.