Marijuana operation found inside burned-out home

Posted at 6:10 AM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 14:54:02-04

Buffalo Fire investigators found a marijuana growing operation inside a home that was destroyed by flames Friday morning.

A 30-year-old woman inside the house at 378 Moselle Street, who was rescued by a Buffalo firefighter from a second-story room, is now in critical condition at ECMC. A 30-year-old man, who escaped on his own, is in serious condition at ECMC. Both the male and female victims suffered burns in the fire.

According to Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, the fire began just before 6 a.m. on the second floor and quickly spread. The marijuana growing operation was discovered in a third-floor attic and police believe it may have played a role in the fire.

It appears the fire was caused by an electrical problem. Someone had illegally tapped into electrical meters, Whitfield said.

Firefighter Tommy O'Leary from Ladder 14 on Bailey Avenue is being praised for pulling a 30-year-old woman from the home.

His equipment was destroyed because of the intensity of the heat and exposure to flames.

"It was really an incredible rescue," said Buffalo Fire Battalion Chief Mike Swanekamp. "The [air tank], the firefighter that found her [was using] already had to be put out of service because it was burned. So it was pretty hot up there. "

The fire caused $110,000 in damage. No charges have been filed at this time.