Above are some of the jars of marijuana allegedly seized by Hawkins County deputies from an indoor marijuana farm at a residence that caught fire late Thursday morning. (photo courtesy of the HCSO)
(Scroll down for a series of photos of the residence courtesy of Hawkins County EMA)
ROGERSVILLE — Three people have been detained by police with charges pending following a residential fire far north of Rogersville late Thursday morning that police believe started in the main growing room of an indoor marijuana farm.
A large quantity of harvested marijuana was allegedly seized from the residence, along with at least 15 marijuana plants, more than $5,000 in cash, indoor growing equipment, and a large quantity and variety of various items of drug paraphernalia.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said this indoor marijuana growing operation wasn't even on his department's radar until it was discovered due to the fire.
It's believed that faulty growing equipment started the fire, Lawson added, but an official cause has not yet been determined.
An investigation into the cause of the fire was going to be conducted by the state fire marshal's office
At 11:50 a.m. Thursday firefighters were dispatched to a residential fire in a community known as "Elbow City" on the opposite side of Rt. 94 from the old Camelot Golf Course at Pressmen's Home.
While battling the blaze firefighters observed what they recognized to be an indoor marijuana growing operation located in several rooms throughout the residence.
The Hawkins County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the residence, but the investigation was hampered throughout the afternoon due to the smoldering debris and the need for firefighters to continuously monitor hot spots.
Lawson said that as of Thursday evening the fire had died down enough that his deputies could begin searching the residence.
Throughout the evening members of the HCSO Narcotics Unit sorted through the rubble to determine what could be salvaged as evidence, and what would be destroyed.
Three suspects were being detained Thursday evening, and the narcotics Unit planned on questing them after the fire scene had been cleared.
The harvested marijuana was being stored in sealed mason jars.
Lawson said the Narcotics Unit had seized approximately "6 to 7 kilos" or marijuana — or right around about 15 pounds.