NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Firefighters made an alarming discovery Saturday while putting out a fire in Brooklyn.
They found what’s believed to be an illegal pot factory inside a vacant building in Cypress Hills.
NYPD officers carried clear evidence bags out of the building Saturday afternoon. Inside the bags appeared to be marijuana plants. There were so many, they filled up a police van, and officers had to make several trips.
The plants were found after the Fulton Street building caught fire. Police say no one was inside the building and no injuries were reported.
Fire officials believe they already know what they’re dealing with.
“The marshals are here on scene right now because it’s being investigated as a possible marijuana grow house,” said Fred Schaaf, deputy assistant chief of the FDNY.
About 30 marijuana plants were found on the first floor of the building and 40 plants on the second floor.
Authorities say the fire started on the first floor of the two-story building, causing extensive damage. There was also damage in the basement, on the second floor and to a neighboring building.
“Two of the buildings were, like, on fire. They were, like, struggling to get in,” neighbor Jessica Ramos said.
“Fire went to a second alarm, which brought approximately 25 pieces of apparatus and 100 firefighters to scene,” Schaaf said.
“The smoke just kept getting worse and worse, but that’s about it. Until I asked to come out because I couldn’t breathe anymore,” neighbor Tasha Brown told CBS2’s John Dias.
Neighbors say they often smell marijuana but never expected this. Brown lives next door.
“No, I had no idea. No idea. Horrible. Me and my daughter live here, and her life, our life was in danger at that point,” she said.
The mother is thankful her daughter wasn’t around when the fire started.
Business owner Charlene Rodrigues had no idea what was happening across the street from her hair extension boutique.
“It’s been an abandoned building for a while. Never saw anyone go in and out, so wasn’t suspected at all,” she said.
Neighbors say it’s reminiscent of, but luckily not as large as, the 2016 fire and explosion that claimed the life of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy and injured 15 other first responders after a marijuana-growing operation inside a Bronx house exploded.
MORE: 2 Men Sentenced To Prison In Death Of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy
Later, two men were sentenced to prison in Fahy’s death.
As for the Brooklyn fire, no arrests have been made. Authorities are still searching for who is behind the illegal operation.
The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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