A stubborn fire that forced the shutdown of Fraser Highway near 240 Street on Sunday was housing a large legal marijuana grow operation.
Two floors of the three storey building was housing active crops of marijuana, confirmed Township assistant fire chief Bruce Ferguson.
The blaze was very difficult to battle because the structure had been altered and compartmentalized to accommodate the grow ops, he said. Firefighters could only battle the fire defensively, not risking going inside, he said. Three people and two dogs were home at the time of the blaze. Everyone got out safely and no injuries were reported.
It was around 9:30 a.m., when bystanders noticed a couple of people standing on the balcony of the building while the structure was burning.
“The two people on the balcony were looking pretty dazed and confused and so the bystanders yelled at them to come down and get away from the fire,” he said. The fire department was called and arrived quickly but already flames were shooting through the roof, said Ferguson.
That area of Langley doesn’t have fire hydrants so water tankers were called in from every hall to battle the blaze during a heavy snow fall. Traffic had to be routed around the scene for several hours while multiple units of the Township fire department fought the blaze.
The building, that once was a truck-based garage on the bottom with living space above, is totally destroyed. The building loss is estimated around $500,000 to $700,000.
Fire crews won’t know the cause of the blaze because they aren’t investigating, said Ferguson.
Langley RCMP will not be investigating or looking to pursue charges because it’s a licensed grow operation. These types of licensed grow operations in residential neighbourhoods will no longer be allowed as of April 1. Medicinal grow operations will be restricted to commercial zones in Langley Township, as new federal licencing rules come into effect..