Small Fire Leads to Discovery of Illegal Pot Grow in Elk Grove Home

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A small fire led firefighters to discover a pot grow in an Elk Grove home on the 6700 block of Vilamoura Way on Sunday. Police stepped in to investigate after the electric wiring powering the grow was found to be set up illegally.

There's a reason fire fighters and not police officers are often the ones discovering pot grows: It's not unusual for a grows to be illegally wired.

Overloaded electric service can't bear it, and things get dangerous.

"Here was a huge boom," neighbor Lisa Leese said.

That boom came from an electrical box where a small fire started and firefighters responded to take care of it. The source of the fire was an overheated illegal electrical power connection.

Inside the house fire crews found a garden of pot plants.

That original explosion was enough to scare off a dog who lives there, too. Leese helped her neighbor catch that dog.

"I've never seen the kid before. So after I helped him get his dog, and the police helped him get dressed ... because he was not dressed as he ran out after his dog ... they did start to question him. It was weird because I'd never seen him before," Leese said.

The man in custody, identified as Christopher Fernandez, reportedly told police this is a legal pot grow and that it is licensed for medical purposes.

Police found 140 marijuana plants, approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana with evidence of sales. They also seized more than $4,000 along with two loaded handguns and a loaded assault rifle.

"We didn't smell anything. We didn't smell the fire. We didn't smell marijuana. We didn't even realize there was a new person living down the street," Leese said.

Fernandez now faces five felony charges and is being held at the Sacramento County Main Jail on $100,000 bail.

The investigation is ongoing, anyone with information is encouraged to call the Elk Grove Police Department at (916) 478-8114.

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