(Updated at 12:32 p.m.)
Saline firefighters contained an early morning blaze to a barn that was home to an illegal marijuana grow operation.
Firefighters were dispatched to 6666 Ann Arbor-Saline Road at 2:27 a.m. for a structure fire.
“It was fully involved when the first truck arrived,” Saline Fire Chief Craig Hoeft said.
Hoeft said the old barn was about 15 feet from the house.
“We weren’t going to put out the barn fire. The important thing was keep it away from the house,” Hoeft said. “Some of the siding on the house melted, but otherwise it was undamaged.”
Pittsfield Township firefighters helped at the scene.
Things got hectic when, while battling the fire, another person called in a fire from near Dell and Austin roads.
“It turned out it was probably just someone out there who could see the barn fire,” Hoeft said.
Hoeft said the cause of the fire has not been determined. However, he suspects it may have something to do with a marijuana grow operation in the barn.
“It was an old barn. Grow facilities require a lot of power. They beefed up the power to the building,” Hoeft said.
Although many lights were on, there was no furniture in the home and nobody in the home at the time of the fire, Hoeft said.
Lt. Keith Flores, of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, said a preliminary investigation shows that a renter was in the process of moving out of the property. Flores said there were remnants of a grow operation on the property.
An official from Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing office said growers are not required to have a state license until Dec. 15. At this point in time, the official said, a grower must have approval of the local government.
Lodi Township Clerk Christina Smith said the grower was operating illegally and without the township’s approval. Smith said the township has not opted in or out of the existing licensing rules.
“We haven’t taken any action, so grow operations are illegal in Lodi Township,” Smith said.