March 7th, 2007, Prince Rupert BC - Prince Rupert RCMP are asking the public assistance, to watch for suspicious activities in their neighborhoods, including what may be marijuana grow operations. Police located a Grow Op in Prince Rupert a few weeks ago when it caught on fire. Luckily, this fire was located before it could spread to neighboring house or endanger additional lives but if it wasn’t caught that early the results could have been much worse.
Chief Ron Miller of the Prince Rupert Fire Rescue Department, said that a fire like that, that early in the day, would normally burn for a long time before it’s detected by residents or neighbors. That time can allow the fire to spread to where it would endanger neighboring houses.
In addition to the dangers that the fire can pose to neighboring properties, they can threaten emergency personal as well. Police and fire fighters that respond to the calls are put at risk by: the fire, chemicals in the house, unsafe electrical wiring, mold that is often caused by grow Ops, and modified structures in the house.
In the past two years, there have been a few Grow Ops discovered in the Prince Rupert area. Three of which have housed a considerable amount of marijuana and two of these have been located due to the fire that they have caused.
People often don’t want to get involved, figure that what the neighbors are up to don’t concern them. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Aside from the danger that these properties can pose, there is the financial costs. At one point during the fire in February, there were seven firefighters on scene while an additional three stood by at the firehall in case of other calls for service. Many of those firefighters were out on overtime and that overtime is paid by your tax dollars. Properties that contain grow Ops are often abandoned by the owners after the grow is shut down. Even if it isn’t fire damaged, the house is often damaged by mold and poses a health threat to the area while bringing down your property values. If the city is forced to deal with the property, that also costs you money. All this while the criminals make money, pushing drugs into your town.
Marijuana Grow Ops are a criminal operation. They bring real health and safety threats into your neighborhood that can impact all residents, not just those living inside the grow op.
Sophisticated Grow Ops require a lot of equipment and it can’t be brought in without being noticed. If you see someone bringing in large lights, doing strange electrical or ventilation work, or bringing in odd equipment that seems suspicious, contact police. Grow Ops use enormous light bulbs, lots of potting soil and fertilizers, and often use long duct work to vent their exhaust into huge filters before it vents out of the house. Simply describing that equipment to Police could help identify a Grow Op and shut it down before it can affect your neighborhood. It is unlikely that this Grow Op discovered in February was the only one in town.
We’re not asking everyone to “spy” on their neighbors, just keep their eyes open and please, call us before the fire starts.