Police are investigating if a fire Sunday at an alleged Ingleside District marijuana grow house is connected to the medical cannabis dispensary located at the same address.
Firefighters responded to a call at 1545 Ocean Avenue at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, according to police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychuk. There, authorities found a marijuana cultivation operation with several hundred immature cannabis plants and a PG&E utility box that had been bypassed, Andraychuk said.
The fire was put out quickly and did not spread to neighboring units, according to fire department officials. Damage is unknown. The building was unoccupied at the time. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.
Marijuana cultivators bypass utility boxes in order to hide power usage patterns from authorities. This practice carries a high risk of fire, and is often cited by authorities as evidence why marijuana cultivation is dangerous.
A medical cannabis dispensary called NorCal Herbal Relief operates at 1545 Ocean Avenue. The fire was at the unit directly above the dispensary, Andraychuk said.
After the fire was put out, officers from the San Francisco Police Department’s narcotics unit responded to the scene, where they found a loaded handgun as well as the several hundred plants, Andraychuk said. Officers seized the handgun as well as an undisclosed amount of processed cannabis, Andraychuk said. An investigation is currently ongoing.
“At this time, we don’t know if the grow is related to the dispensary,” Andraychuk told the Appeal on Monday. “We’re trying to determine who owns the grow.”
The dispensary is currently closed. The two numbers listed for NorCal Herbal Relief Center both appear disconnected. A cell phone number for one of the owners is also disconnected.
Officials from the fire department as well as the Department of Building Inspection “red-tagged” the building, meaning it has been legally deemed uninhabitable.
The Jew family of 260 11th Avenue owns the building, according to property records.