The owner of a multi-family home in Foxboro, Massachusetts, has been arrested after a fire broke out at the building early Wednesday morning and revealed a marijuana grow system, police said.
As Foxboro firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze on Central Street, they also tried to salvage Christmas presents for the children who lived there. While going through the home, firefighters discovered a suspected marijuana grow system in the basement.
Based on their observations, Foxboro police obtained a search warrant for the building where detectives found a large scale marijuana grow system in the basement that included approximately 200 suspected marijuana plants, heating lamps, an irrigation system and various unknown chemicals.
Inside one of the apartments, police said detectives found various packing materials, THC products, and molds to make various THC products, including lollipops and chocolate bars, and a substance believed to be fentanyl.
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A search of another apartment revealed a marijuana grow system consisting of approximately two dozen plants and a drying room containing approximately 100 pounds of marijuana, police said.
Donald Corliss III, 46, was taken into custody Wednesday and is facing several charges including possession to distribute a Class D drug to wit marijuana, reckless endangerment to a child, and possession of a Class A drug to wit fentanyl.
Corliss was set to be arraigned at Wrentham District Court later Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if he had obtained an attorney who could speak to the charges.
The initial call for a report of a fire on Central Street was received around 5 a.m., Foxboro Fire Chief Michael Kelleher said.
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Initial crews saw heavy smoke coming from the first floor and basement, he said. Due to the age of the building -- over 100 years -- the fire quickly extended to the second and third floors.
Multiple families lived in the building, which included six units. Kelleher said between 12 and 15 people were displaced as a result of the blaze, including several children.
Everyone got out safely, and no injuries were reported, he added.
Firefighters did their best in trying to rescue Christmas presents and other items from some of the units.
"I think anytime you have a fire it's a tragedy," Kelleher said. "But then this goes to the holidays, that just compounds it anytime children are involved. We tried to salvage as any of the Christmas presents as we could, but those families are definitely going to need a hand. We have a pretty resilient community here in Foxboro, so I'm sure they'll be rallying around the families."
The displaced residents of the apartment building were assisted by the Foxborough Council on Aging, the Foxborough Jaycees, and the American Red Cross.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials initially said they were leaning toward it being electrical in nature. Crews were on scene investigating for much of the day.
Foxboro police and fire departments were assisted by the State Fire Marshalls Office and Massachusetts State Police.
More charges are expected to be filed, police said. The investigation is ongoing.