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Home Destroyed, Owner Ends Up In Jail

Last updated on Wednesday, January 8, 2014

(HURON) - Firefighters from four departments battled a blaze at a home at 8038 U.S. 50 West and the owner ended up in jail Tuesday night.

According to Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig, while firefighters were battling the blaze, they noticed a marijuana grow operation in the basement and notified police.

"Officers obtained a search warrant and officers recovered around 100 marijuana plants ranging from 2-feet to 4-feet tall along with grow operating equipment," Craig says.

The owner of the home, 49-year-old Gregory Chester, was at the scene and arrested and is facing charges of possession of marijuana over 30 grams, cultivating marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance.

Firefighters from Huron, Shawswick, Marion and Williams VFDs responded to the blaze, along with police, Tabernacle of Praise Emergency Services and a Seals ambulance crew.

According to Huron VFD Chief Mark Jones the home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene at 5:06 p.m.

"We believe the fire was electrical in nature," Jones says. "We have requested the state fire marshal to come and investigate, but the owner since he was arrested is refusing to give consent to do that, so we are waiting to hear from the state fire marshal to see what the next step is."

Jones says the fire started in a bedroom in the southwest corner of the home.

"At first we could only do an exterior attack," Jones says. "The fire was contained to the upper level of the home, but the floors had burnt through. After the fire was contained and we were extinguishing hot spots we noticed the marijuana in the basement."

Officers from Lawrence County and Indiana State Police Troopers were on the scene helping direct traffic. They were told about the discovery of marijuana and then they called for assistance.

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