Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo office fire reveals marijuana operation

LARGO — While putting out a fire inside a business complex on Ulmerton Road late Thursday night, firefighters discovered something more than smoke and flames.

Hidden in an unoccupied storefront, they found a marijuana growing operation that was producing about $120,000 worth of the drug.

In fact, the high-heat light bulbs used to grow the pot turned out to be the cause of the fire, authorities said.

The marijuana grow house was tucked inside Unit No. 108 of the American Business Center at 8300 Ulmerton Road, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The complex just east of Starkey Road houses a number of businesses that sell products like hardwood floors and copy machines as well as services like pool cleaning and locksmiths.

The Sheriff's Office gave the following account:

Shortly before midnight Thursday, a sheriff's forensic specialist named Sandee Jacobs was driving by there and noticed smoke coming from the building. She called for fire rescue.

Once the fire was out, firefighters found a room inside Unit 108 dedicated to growing marijuana. Sheriff's narcotics detectives took over the investigation. They seized 43 marijuana plants weighing a total of about 100 pounds, as well as marijuana growing equipment.

Detectives want to highlight the dangers of such indoor growing operations, said Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Tom Nestor. The chemicals and high-heat light bulbs used to produce marijuana plants indoors can have deadly consequences.

Had the fire gone undetected, the entire business complex could have become engulfed in flames quickly, Nestor said. In this case, no one was injured since the unit appeared to be unoccupied.

Detectives are investigating but haven't identified any suspects so far, Nestor said.

Largo office fire reveals marijuana operation 04/09/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 9, 2010 7:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Authorities: A man named 'Cabbage' sold soap, not cocaine, to undercover detective

    Public Safety


    Authorities: A man named 'Cabbage' sold soap, not cocaine, to undercover detective

  2. Former Jabil executive again found guilty in 2008 double-murder


    Patrick Evans, the former Jabil executive charged with the deaths of his wife and her friend, was found guilty by a jury Wednesday night.

    Patrick Evans talks with Allison Miller, one of his three public defenders, before jury selection continues in his trial Wednesday 10/11/2017. Patrick Evans, a former Jabil executive charged with killing his estranged wife and her friend almost ten years ago, was back in court for a second trial after his original death sentence conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court.
  3. Hooper: After living through them, she pulls people out of credit woes


    Atlanta, a place known for rising from the ashes of the Civil War to become an international city, proved to be a perfect backdrop for Artricia James-Heard's own rise from what she calls "a very vulnerable time in her life."

    Artricia James-Heard
  4. Photo of the Day for October 19, 2017 - A view of Tampa Bay from Coquina Key in St. Pete

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Eric Statzer of Tampa, FL.

  5. St. Pete's traffic signal boxes are being covered in public art


    If you have an eye for detail, you may have noticed a splash of color here and there around downtown St. Petersburg recently. 

    This art by Justin Wagher is part of the Corner Canvas public art initiative by Shine.