PLACENTIA – An illegal marijuana-growing operation with as many as 3,000 plants was discovered Sunday while crews were trying to restore power after an electrical fire in Placentia, authorities said on Monday.
Several people called 911 to report that a wooden telephone pole was on fire in the 700 block of South Melrose Avenue and that power and telephone lines were down in the street.
Orange County Fire Authority firefighters extinguished the blaze shortly after the 3:18 p.m. calls.
Southern California Edison crews traced the fire’s cause to a power surge from a closed business that had a strong smell of marijuana coming from it.
Detectives were called in and found the operation after obtaining a search warrant.
“An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 plants in various stages of growth were located in the business,” Placentia police Sgt. Bryce Angel said in a statement. “The value of the operation is estimated to be worth several million dollars.”
The city does not permit marijuana-growing businesses.
Utility employees have told police they have seen power surges caused by marijuana-growing operations, because they use an excessive amount of power.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Placentia police at 714-993-8146. Anonymous tips can be submitted to the Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS or occrimestoppers.org.