By Bill Lindelof and Peter Hecht
A legal marijuana-growing operation was damaged after the Sacramento warehouse where it was housed caught fire early this morning, according to a lawyer for the grower.
The warehouse grows marijuana for Unity Non-Profit Collective, a Sacramento dispensary that has a registered network of about 3,000 medical marijuana users, according to a spokesman for the collective.
Sacramento police said the operation is legal.
"We were given a clean bill of health," said George Mull, Unity's attorney. "It's not considered a crime scene, and we're moving on."
Firefighters were called to the warehouse by a report of the strong odor of something burning in the vicinity of warehouses near Del Paso Boulevard and Railroad Drive at 5:13 a.m.
When crews arrived eight minutes later to 1900 Railroad Drive they reported heavy black smoke billowing from metal roll-up doors on the concrete-sided warehouse.
A second alarm was sounded as crews cut open doors to get at the fire.
Using thermal imaging cameras, firefighters were able to peer through the thick smoke to locate and extinguish the fire.
When the smoke cleared, firefighters found marijuana plants at several spots growing inside the building, a department spokesman said.
Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said that about 200 plants in various stages of growth were found in the warehouse. Three or four rooms had been converted for the purpose of growing.
Chemicals to help grow the marijuana and electrical equipment to power indoor grow lights also were found.
Authorities also found 15 18-gallon plastic containers of dried marijuana.
Several hours after the fire, several people approached officers and told them that the marijuana was part of a collective growing the plants for medicinal purposes.
KCRA: Police: Legal pot-growing operation found