FOXBORO (CBS) – The Foxboro home fire that displaced a dozen residents Wednesday morning was sparked by a “large-scale” marijuana grow operation, authorities said.
Emergency crews in Hazmat suits visited the Central Street building that had burned down earlier in the day after investigators discovered around 200 marijuana plants in the basement. A prosecutor said in court that the fire was started by heating equipment used for growing plants.
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When firefighters responded around 5 a.m., they found thick smoke and the flames eventually spread to the second and third floors.
âThe first crews saw thick smoke coming out of the main floor and basement,â Foxboro Fire Chief Michael Kelleher said.
Neighbor Rick Larocque said it was heartbreaking to watch the fire spread to the third floor where children lived. âSeeing the Christmas tree and the toys up there, he’s not a good man, and the kids shouldn’t be paying for that,â Larocque said.
Residents of six units all escaped unharmed. Firefighters attempted to retrieve the Christmas presents left inside.
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Police arrested building owner Donald Corliss III, who appeared in Wrentham District Court to face charges of possession with intent to distribute, reckless endangerment of a child and possession drug. More charges are expected to be filed, police said.
Police said detectives who searched the house also found 100 pounds of marijuana in a drying room and “various packaging materials, THC products and molds to make various THC products, including lollipops and candy bars. chocolate, and a substance said to be fentanyl “.
A judge set the bond at $ 5,000; Corliss is due to return to court on February 15 for a preliminary hearing.
âIt’s selfish. He doesn’t think of others, âsaid Larocque.
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Thirteen people have been displaced. A local charity group, the Foxboro Jaycees, collects donations for displaced families.