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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