Fire leads police to possible marijuana operation

One man is in the hospital after an apartment fire may have led authorities to a suspected marijuana operation.

It happened on Cleveland's West Side near West 105th and Joan streets.

Police have been parked outside the home since Tuesday night when the fire happened.

They say it started on the second floor.

After firefighters put it out, police got a search warrant to go through the home.

What they found has neighbors shocked.

Many called 911.

"We have a fire here at Pizza Paradise on West 105th and Joan. It's upstairs. I don't know if there is anybody in there or not, but the flames are shooting out, and something blew up," said one caller.

"I can't get an answer from anybody whether there is, but it's still burning pretty good," said another caller.

John Kotouch and Sam Hobson live across the street.

They couldn't figure out where the fire was coming from.

"Then we looked outside, and that's when we saw all the smoke and everything. We saw the fire truck, and then, the next thing we knew, this whole area was just engulfed," they said.

Once the bomb squad cleared the house, investigators pulled out containers and bags filled with evidence, including special lights and other marijuana growing tools.

Neighbors say they never saw any suspicious activity.

They're shocked that there was a possible marijuana operation happening right in front of them.

"We would never have suspected that, never, not at all," said Kotouch and Hobson.

Police say the man who was pulled out of the house was treated for burns.

They say he has not been arrested because of his injuries, but his case will go before a grand jury.


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