Authorities describe what they found inside a building that housed a sophisticated marijuana growing operation. Toni Guinyard reports from Placentia for the NBC4 News at noon on Tuesday July 3, 2012.
A “large-scale” marijuana growing operation that might have been in place for about two years was discovered inside a Placentia industrial building Monday after an electrical fire.
The fire occurred at about 7 p.m. Monday in a complex of commercial buildings in the 1000 block of South Melrose Street (map), said Placentia Police Department Sgt. Ken Alexander. The building is about a half block away from Melrose Elementary School.
The fire might have been caused by excessive power use, which could have caused an electrical panel overload, according to Southern California Edison officials. Orange County firefighters put out the blaze and uncovered an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 plants.
The building contained a "sophisticated hydroponic irrigation system."
“We were on the scene and they let us know they had found marijuana plants after they opened one of the doors up,” said Alexander.
Police have estimated the plants' street value at $300,000 to $500,000.
Police are trying to track down the building's owner through Southern California Edison, the property manager and electrical bills.
“We have information about who's paying the electric bills but that doesn't mean they are renting the building. It's a good start," said Placentia police Det. Corinne Loomis.
No arrests have been made.