CLEARWATER — A fire at a home near the Clearwater Country Club uncovered a marijuana grow operation and landed two men in jail on Tuesday morning, officials said.
A neighbor called Clearwater firefighters to report smoke coming from a detached garage at a house at 1379 Hibiscus St. around 7:30 a.m., according to police.
Firefighters arrived and found resident Kenneth Lewis Keilman, 43, who tried to convince them not to go inside the garage, Clearwater public safety officials said.
Fire officials contacted Clearwater police about Keilman and went into the garage to put out a small fire, which was coming from a ventilation fan in the ceiling, officials said.
That's when they discovered marijuana plants. Authorities reported finding 51 mature plants and various pieces of growing equipment.
Clearwater police arrived and arrested Keilman as he started to walk away. He was charged with manufacture of marijuana and felony obstruction of a firefighter. On Tuesday evening, he was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
After receiving consent to search the home, police also reported finding seven plants that had recently been harvested and more than 600 grams of marijuana.
Officers also arrested 45-year-old Troy Adam Walker, who lives at the home with Keilman. Police said both men were involved in the grow operation.
Walker was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a marijuana derivative, and violation of probation on a 2009 DUI conviction, Pinellas court records show. Walker's bail was set at $10,000 for the two drug charges, but he had no bail on the violation, according to jail records.