Fire in Oklahoma Marijuana grow facilities become major concern
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics sees rise in people injured at grow facilities due to fires.
In recent months, authorities say numerous marijuana farms across Oklahoma have caught fire or suffered explosions due to bad wiring or improper storage of chemicals.
Investigators who fight illegal drugs in Oklahoma say they're seeing more people hurt as fires at marijuana farms have become a major concern.
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics officials said many of the farms operate without any inspections by the city or state fire marshal to make sure their business is up to code. But some, like one in Jones, have not been inspected, and the state doesn't know about them until they have a fire like the one that sparked last week.
"If these places were inspected, they never would have passed because of the wiring and numerous other things like lack of a fire suppression system," Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesman Mark Woodward said.
In recent months, authorities say numerous marijuana farms across Oklahoma have caught fire or suffered explosions due to bad wiring or improper storage of chemicals. Narcotics department officials said not having those in place threatens lives, and they're trying to improve conditions.
"We had two buildings, grow houses, that our agents were serving warrants in that caught fire while our agents were in those rooms," Woodward said. "They only had one way in and one way out, and our agents are having to use top potting soil to put out the fire."
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics also said it's cracking down on making sure each marijuana farm business also has a copy of its certificate of occupancy. If it doesn't, the grow won't be allowed to continue operating.
"Sometimes, they do get a certificate of occupancy," Woodward said. "And once the fire marshal leaves, they start expanding and making the business bigger and bigger, adding more grow rooms and warehouses."
Woodward told KOCO 5 that investigators continue to monitor and make sure each marijuana arm is operating legally to help prevent further threats to not only workers and the public but also state agents.