Kitchen fire leads to grow house bust in Palm Harbor

11:51 AM, Jan 5, 2013   |    comments
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Palm Harbor, Florida -- A response to a house fire in Palm Harbor lead to something more, which included the discovering of a grow house and the arrest of the homeowner Friday night.

Investigators say the Palm Harbor Fire Department and sheriff's deputies responded to reports of smoke at the home located in the 3700 block of Appleton Court around 8:38 p.m. The fire, which was quickly extinguished, was determined to be food cooking on the stove. 

Detectives say the homeowner, identified as 50-year-old Kerry S. Nichols, had apparently fallen asleep while the food was cooking. No injuries were reported.

Initially, Fire personnel suspected there might be a meth lab in the home; and the Hazmat team was summoned to search the home. No meth lab was found, however, investigators found a marijuana grow operation in a back room of the house. About four plants and other equipment were located and seized.

Nichols, 50, was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana.

The investigation continues.

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