The Cambridge Fire Department has responded to at least three fires related to grow ops over the last few weeks
Joe McGinty Dec 11, 2022
The Cambridge Fire Department (CFD) is warning anyone growing cannabis at home to make sure lights and other accessories are properly connected to electrical outlets to avoid plants and your home from going up in smoke.
Over the last few weeks CFD has responded to at least three fires that officials say were caused by cannabis grow operations.
“It’s not the fault of the person there, but more the lack of knowledge and electrical issues that have arisen from that,” said Eric Yates, chief fire prevention officer for CFD.
Things such as lights, fans and other accessories need to be plugged directly into the wall as opposed to a power-bar. This overloading of an extension cable or power-bar is causing them to overheat, melt and start fires.
Even the timers growers use to turn their lights on and off need to be rated to hold enough power to safely operate and prevent fires in the home.
“This is all still new to a lot of people, us included, so people just need to know more about how they can safely plug their electronics in without causing a fire,” said Yates.
At the beginning stages of planning your grow room, Yates recommends doing research to see what cords, timers and plugs your home can handle. Getting a professional electrician to come in and help get things set up is another overlooked, but important step, he adds.
“Make sure all of your appliances are ULC and CSA approved. If you need more electrical outlets, get a professional electrician to come install some,” said Yates.
Cannabis growers aren’t the only ones improperly using power bars and extension cables. People running space heaters and other heavy appliances need to be mindful of where they are setting up.
“When you have a space heater, a fan to move around the heat, a laptop and phone all plugged into a power-bar, that is a recipe for disaster,” Yates said.
One of the most important things he and CFD stresses is that there are working smoke alarms on every level of the house.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people have smoke alarms at home that don’t work,” Yates said. “Smoke alarms save lives, so make sure they work.”