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Warehouse fire exposes big pot grow

Two-alarm blaze turns dangerous when roof sags
by: Courtesy of PFR Portland firefighters discovered a marijuana growing operation in a Southeast Stark Street commercial building Monday afternoon.

Portland firefighters battling a Southeast Portland commercial blaze Monday afternoon discovered a major marijuana growing operation tucked inside what was a woodworking shop.

The building at 14439 S.E. Stark St. has been sealed off as a crime scene. Portland police and federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the fire and the marijuana operation.

There is no information on the fire's cause or the amount of damage to the building.

Firefighters were called at about 3:19 p.m. to the building, where witnesses reported flames shooting from the roof.

The business was reportedly used as a woodworking shop.

Incident commanders called for a second alarm at 3:30 p.m., bringing additional firefighters, apparatus and resources to the scene to help fight the growing blaze. Three minutes after calling for a second alarm, firefighters were ordered out of the building because the roof began to sag.

The fire was brought under control at about 4:20 p.m.

When the smoke cleared, Paul Corah, Portland Fire and Rescue spokesman said firefighters discovered what was left of a massive, 'very large sophisticated' marijuana growing operation inside.

'The grow operation covered much of the 5,000-square-foot warehouse,' Corah said.