Investigators looking for renter who they say reported fire
Investigators believe a house fire in Aloha early Monday morning was likely caused by grow lights related to a marijuana-growing operation firefighters discovered in the home.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue personnel responded to a 9-1-1 call around 4:46 a.m. reporting the blaze in the 3300 block of Southwest 173rd Avenue.
They were fighting an active house fire when they discovered a marijuana growing operation with more than 50 plants, said Sgt. David Thompson of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Arson investigators haven't determined the exact cause of the fire, but said it started in one of the grow rooms and is most likely related to high-powered grow lights for the plants.
Deputies were not able to locate Mark Brightman, 59, who resides in the house as a tenant, or the property owners. Deputies believe Brightman placed the emergency call and left before firefighters arrived, Thompson said.
Members of the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team were called in to take over the investigation. They obtained a search warrant and found evidence that more than 50 marijuana plants had been growing at the time of the fire.
Investigators are looking for Brightman and would like to question him regarding the marijuana-growing operation, which they determined is not registered with the state and not a medical-marijuana grow, Thompson said.
Anyone with information regarding Brightman is asked to call the sheriff's office at 503-629-0111.