Suspected Emerald grow op goes up in smoke 

Fire service orders home on heavily treed lot to be torn down

click to flip through (5) PHOTO BY DAVID BUZZARD / WWW.DAVIDBUZZARD.COM - NO WATER Whistler fire fighters look on helplessly as a home on Emerald Drive burns. The closest fire hydrants were frozen and fire fighters couldn't get water to their hoses.
  • Photo by David Buzzard / www.davidbuzzard.com
  • NO WATER Whistler fire fighters look on helplessly as a home on Emerald Drive burns. The closest fire hydrants were frozen and fire fighters couldn't get water to their hoses.
 

A home in the 9300 block of Emerald Drive suspected to contain a marijuana grow operation was allowed by the Whistler Fire Service to burn itself out.

Fire Chief Sheila Kirkwood said a neighbour called 911 to report the fire at 6:30 a.m. today (Feb. 8). According to Kirkwood, fire fighters arrived at the home and found it fully involved.

“It was confirmed by RCMP that it was under suspicion of being a grow op,” said Kirkwood. “Based on that the crews didn’t make an interior attack and we went to a defensive mode.”

Kirkwood said it was too dangerous to put crews inside the home, which is well above the street on a lot containing many tall trees.

The cold and icy conditions made fighting the blaze very difficult. Nearby hydrants were frozen and the street was icy. RMOW staff provided sand and salt to keep the street as ice-free as possible. Despite that a number of fire fighters lost their footing in the slippery conditions. BC Hydro cut power to the home and the surrounding residences.

Kirkwood said the home suffered extensive damage and it will be torn down as soon as possible.

More than 30 fire fighters responded to the fire and every piece of Whistler fire apparatus was on scene.

Melanie Schumacher was the first person to spot the fire. She saw smoke coming from the home after dropping her husband off in the village.

“I went up the driveway to the back of the house and went around the corner and saw that there was a lot of fire,” she said.

After banging on the door of the home and concluding nobody was inside Schumacher called 911 then alerted her neighbours of the fire.

This fire follows a chimney fire that turned into a roof fire on Friday, Feb. 7 on Rainbow Drive.

Check back with Pique on Thursday for more.

By John French

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