Faulty electrical equipment used to cultivate cannabis set a Cheam house ablaze on Sunday afternoon.
Crews believe the fire, at the detached property on Cuddington Way, was caused due to the wiring by-passing the electricity meter.
The fire destroyed the roof and left part of its first floors badly damaged.
Station Manager Kevin Mckenzie, who was at the scene, said: “Our crews worked really quickly to stop this fire from spreading to neighbouring properties or further damaging the house itself and thankfully there were no injuries.
“Cannabis factory fires can be very severe because of the way criminals use unsafe wiring to illegally obtain electricity in order to grow the plants.
“They’re often in top floors or lofts which means when a fire takes hold it spreads, destroying roofs and damaging neighbouring buildings.
“Firefighters can also be exposed to risks when dealing with the fires because of bad wiring and booby traps at some of the properties.
The brigade was called at 3.52pm after UK power network engineers, who saw smoke coming from the roof, raised the alarm.
Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Sutton and Wallington fire stations, as well as an aerial ladder platform from Wimbledon attended the scene – the fire was under control by 6.23pm.
Station Manager Kevin Mckenzie, explained that it was vital that people were aware of the key signs of spotting cannabis in a bit to stop fires breaking out in the first place.
He said: “It’s important that people know the key signs and inform the police so that they can act swiftly to prevent these dangerous fires.”
Spotting the signs of cannabis cultivation:
- Strong and sickly sweet smell
- Large amounts of growing equipment
- Constantly covered or blocked off windows
- Visitors at unsociable hours
- Strong and constant lighting day and night
- High levels of heat and condensation
- Constant buzz of ventilation
- Lots of cables
Picture courtesy of Harry (Howard) Potts, with thanks