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Pot found after house fire in Wells

Thirty plants discovered in basement

September 9, 2012
by Antonio Acosta - Register Staff Writer , Faribault County Register

The owner of a Wells home where firefighters discovered more than two dozen marijuana plants has been contacted.

Authorities have finally talked to the man, nearly a week after a fire on Aug. 30 caused extensive damage to the house located at 68 1st Ave. N.W.

However, criminal charges are still pending.

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Firefighters were surprised when they found more than two dozen marijuana plants in the basement of a house during a fire in Wells at 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 31.

That's because the plants are being dried out before they are weighed and police wait to question the man further.

"Once we know how much the marijuana actually weighs, that will determine the level of charge," says Police Chief Jim Ratelle.

"Keep Out" signs have been placed over the front and back doors of the house located behind the American Legion.

Wells and Minnesota Lake firefighters responded to a call around 9:15 a.m.

Ratelle says while searching the attic, main floor and basement to see if the fire had spread, a firefighter came across "shrub-looking plants" in the basement.

Police were notified and obtained a search warrant.

Ratelle says no one was home at the time of the blaze. He says officers found 13 mature, 4-foot-tall potted plants and also seized 17 seedlings that were about a foot tall.

Faribault County Attorney Troy Timmerman says if the weight of the marijuana is less than 42 grams, no charges will be filed because it is a petty misdemeanor that carries a $200 fine.

Ratelle says authorities aren't completely surprised with the amount of marijuana that was discovered. But, he says it isn't a serious problem in the city.

"We know there is drug use in town by a certain group of people. I don't think this is a one-time thing," he says. "We're very aware of what's going on, it's just a matter of catching the people."

A representative of the State Fire Marshal's Office has determined cause of the fire was electrical.

The fire reportedly originated from a shorted wire in the ceiling above the kitchen sink.

Also assisting at the scene were the Wells Ambulance crew and the Faribault County Sheriff's Office.

 
 

 

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