Marijuana Growing Operation Found In House Fire

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

"Perhaps some day we'd build a new place here on this site," homeowner Dan Dudley said.

An early morning house fire is now a drug investigation.

The century-old home in Alaiedon Township was being rented by four college students, and it's now a total loss.

Dan Dudley, the homeowner and owner of Discount Trees, bought the house off Willoughby Road 25 years ago, and his childhood friend grew up in it.

"We just now recently had made the very last payment on the house, and just now paid the house off after making payments on it for over 20 years," Dudley said.

Dudley is distraught to say the least. The fire began at about 7:40 a.m. Wednesday morning, and the home was engulfed by the time firefighters arrived. It took five different departments about two hours to fight the flames. The smoke and fire could be seen from US-127.

"We kept all of our personnel on the exterior of the building because of the extent of the fire damage that we had initially," Delhi Assistant Fire Chief Brian Ball said.

No firefighters were injured, but one tenant was home at the time. The 23-year-old man escaped by jumping out of a second story window. He was taken to McLaren Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation and a sprained ankle. His dog didn't make it out.

"The tenants were quite distraught," Dudley said. "They had lost basically everything they owned was in that house, and so they've lost all their possessions."

Not all of their possessions were ruined. State Police found a marijuana grow operation in the home. At least 30 plants were taken out of the house and others were burned.

"If there was an illegal grow operation, were electrical equipment hooked up improperly?" Michigan State Police Lt. Kyle Bowman said. "Those are things that we're looking into. Those are indicators, but we aren't sure what caused the fire at this time."

The fire department still needs to figure out where and how the fire started. State police might seek criminal charges depending on what the evidence from the home reveals.

Dudley is just happy everyone made it out safely. His mother died in a fire when he was 13. For now he's optimistic and open for business.

"Perhaps some day we'd build a new place here on this site," Dudley said.

Dudley will likely tear down what remains of the home.

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  • by anon2 on Apr 9, 2013 at 06:23 AM
    This is one and the same Dan Dudley. Although I can't find anything right now to verify this, wasn't the family home involved in the alledged robbery also burned down shortly after that time? Sounded suspicious then and even more so now.
  • by J Location: Lansing on Apr 5, 2013 at 12:03 PM
    Ignorance truly is bliss huh guys? I happen to know these people. This was actually a Legal medical marihuana grow. If there was any chance at all to save the dog it would have happened. Personally I think he is lucky to have even saved his own life. Who said, he thought the dog could make it out? Easy to say you would die for your dog when your not the the one about to die...who's to say it wasn't already too late when he woke up. I doubt by your comments that you have ever been in a life or death situation but there isn't time to think, only react, he lived end of story. Human life is more importnat then a dogs no matter how cute your Chihuahua is.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 5, 2013 at 10:08 AM
    im sure he has insurance... were these kids legal or not? and im sure if he could have saved his dog he would have. come on people
  • by Anon on Apr 4, 2013 at 08:50 PM
    On April 3, 2013, LSJ covered a story reference the house fire in Alaiedon township. Apparently, this was a rental property. The owner is Dan Dudley per WILX website. Wasn't Mr. Dudley (owner of Discount Trees) and his family victims of an alleged robbery in their home, years ago? Per WILX website: and now he's a victim of a house fire to his rental property that he "just" paid off where allegedly marijuana plants were found per WILX. Things that make you go huumm???
  • by SR Location: Holt, MI on Apr 4, 2013 at 02:35 AM
    Did he even try to save his dog? I know that I for one would die before my dog. Sounds like a bunch of total idiots. Growing pot illegally and burning down the house.
  • by R U Serious? Location: Location on Apr 3, 2013 at 06:51 PM
    Heard the sirens this am -- I can't believe the guy really thought the dog should or could make it out on its own...really? Cool it on the drugs and think a little. You are responsible for your pets and that includes in a life or death situation, hope some punishment ensues here... sorry to hear this
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