By Anthony Saude
Chino Hills – On November 17, 2017 Chino Valley Fire District firefighters and Sheriff’s Deputies from Chino Hills PD were dispatched to a house fire at 1807 Nordic Avenue in Chino Hills. When they arrived the residence was completely engulfed in flames.
While the firefighters were putting out the flames they discovered marijuana plants were being grown in inside the residence. The Sheriff’s Gangs/Narcotics joined in to assist with the investigation, search warrant in hand and assumed the lead in the investigation.
Chino Valley Fire Department and Southern California Edison also showed up at the scene to do their own investigation. It is believed that there were several hundred marijuana plants growing in the residence and most were destroyed in the fire.
Preliminary reports from the investigation have authorities believing that it was caused by faulty wiring due to the electrical meter being bypassed. This is a common tactic used to avoid detection by law enforcement of increased electricity use by the grow lights needed for an operation of this size.
It is very common for fires to start when using this method of utility theft, which of course is illegal itself. The loss of revinue to SCE in these cases will commonly be in the thousands of dollars.
The property owners leased their house to the residents through a property management company. This is an ongoing investigation. The San Bernardino County District Attorney will make the decision what criminal charges will be filed against the suspects. The charges they will be facing are utility theft, unlawful causing of a property fire, vandalism and marijuana cultivation.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Gangs / Narcotics Division at 909-387-8400. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463).