Telephone pole fire leads authorities to ‘massive’ marijuana grow operation in Placentia

PLACENTIA, Cailf. (KTLA) -- Investigators discovered a large-scale marijuana grow operation after responding to a fire in Placentia Sunday afternoon.

Callers reported a wooden telephone pole was on fire and power lines were down in the street in the 700 block of South Melrose Avenue about 3:18 p.m., the Placentia Police Department stated in a news release.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze, which left area residents temporarily without power.

Southern California Edison employees traced the cause of the fire to a power surge coming from a nearby business.

“When we approached the closed business, we were met with the strong smell of growing marijuana”, Placentia Police Detective Beau Wagoner stated in the news release.

Police found a “massive marijuana grow,” with thousands of plants inside the business, according to the news release.

“Initially we thought it was 2,000 but now we’re up to 3,400,” Sgt. Bryce Angel said. “It’s one of the bigger ones I can remember, and we’ve had quite a few over the years.”

Officials estimate the value of the plants to be worth several millions and stated that marijuana cultivation businesses are not permitted in the City of Placentia.

Investigators are working to determine who ran the operation.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Police Department at 714) 993-8146. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS.