The Hazards of Grow Houses

Issue 6 and Volume 163.

BY BILL GUSTIN The environment favorable for growing marijuana indoors can be a very dangerous environment for firefighters when a fire occurs in a “grow house.” The term “grow house” is misleading because it implies that marijuana growing occurs only in detached private dwellings, which is hardly the case. For example, one or two rooms in apartments are commonly converted to a grow house to produce a small crop. Conversely, some of the largest and most productive grow houses are located in rented warehouse bays (photo 1). For this article, a grow house refers to any indoor marijuana-growing operation. (1) This grow house, located in a rented warehouse bay, is essentially a wood-frame shack built inside a Type II noncombustible building. This enclosure is oxygen deficient because of the use of carbon dioxide from cylinders to hasten the growth of the plants. (Photos by Eric Goodman.) Growing operations are replete…

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