DENVER (CBS4) – Fire broke out early Tuesday morning in a building housing a marijuana growing operation.

The building is located at 44th and Garfield, and at one point flames were coming up through the roof.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out relatively quickly.

Authorities said no one was inside the building at the time of the fire and no injuries have been reported.

“This is pretty bad, this is pretty much done,” said Reza Hassani, who owned the operation.

Fifty plants and expensive grow equipment were destroyed. Hassani said he lost tens of thousands of dollars.

It was a challenge for crews to get inside because of security so often found at grow operations. There were steel bars and metal doors, but when firefighters got inside it easy to see the problem was electrical.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Investigators are worried that fires at marijuana operations could become a big problem because of the amount of power used to operating the lighting. That combined with fertilizers and chemicals is a risky combination, especially when done in an old building like the one on Garfield Street, according to firefighters.

“A lot of these facilities draw a lot of power and sometimes you can overload the system, and in this particular case that’s exactly what happened,” Mark Watson with Denver Fire said.

Watson says when an electrical system isn’t equipped to handle all that power usage it can overheat and the wires get hot. They can make contact wood or metal and then a fire begins.

Hassani moved into the building a few months ago. His architectural plans were just approved and he was about to begin construction on the unit he rents. He grows pot for his medical marijuana store front in Manitou Springs.

“The damage is done so I have to move on,” Hassani said. “This is life, you lose and you win. Today I lost.”

Firefighters say as more marijuana businesses move into Colorado, it’s becoming a challenge for them to find out which businesses are properly permitted.


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