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Cannabis factory discovered during fire in Plaistow

PUBLISHED: 07:13 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:19 24 April 2019

The cause of the blaze is being investigated. Picture: LONDON FIRE BRIGADE

The cause of the blaze is being investigated. Picture: LONDON FIRE BRIGADE

Archant

A cannabis factory was discovered by firefighters tackling a blaze at a top-floor flat.

Six fire engines and 40 firefighters were called to the fire at a block of maisonettes in Prince Regent Lane, Plaistow, on Saturday.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB), tweeting from its @LFBNewham account, said: “Appliances with crews from @LFBNewham Plaistow and East Ham alongside crews from @LFBTowerHamlets dealt with this fire in a top floor flat being used as a cannabis factory in Plaistow.

“These are now a regular occurrence with added risks to our crews.”

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman confirmed the fire adding that it had damaged guttering and a maisonette on the second and third floors.

About 40 firefighters tackled a blaze at a flat in Plaistow at what the London Fire Brigade described as the site of a cannabis factory. Picture: LFBAbout 40 firefighters tackled a blaze at a flat in Plaistow at what the London Fire Brigade described as the site of a cannabis factory. Picture: LFB

She said: “The brigade was called at 9.15am and the fire was under control at 11.03am. Fire crews from Plaistow, East Ham, Poplar, Stratford and Barking fire stations attended the scene.

“The cause of the fire is under investigation by the brigade and Metropolitan Police.”

The LFB spokeswoman explained: “Cannabis factory fires can be very severe because of the way criminals use unsafe wiring to illegally obtain electricity in order to grow the plants.

“They're often in top floors or lofts which means when a fire takes hold it spreads, destroying roofs and damaging neighbouring buildings.”

She added that firefighters can also be exposed to risks when dealing with the fires because of bad wiring and booby traps.

“It's important that people know the key signs and inform the police so that they can act swiftly to prevent these dangerous fires from happening,” she said.

Signs of cannabis farming include:

· a strong and sickly sweet smell

· large amounts of growing equipment

· constantly covered or blocked off windows

· visitors at unsociable hours

· strong and constant lighting day and night

· high levels of heat and condensation

· the constant buzz of ventilation

· lots of cables

A Met police spokesman said “a number of cannabis plants” were found but there have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.

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