Marijuana growing operation, cabin fire connected

By Nok-Noi Ricker and Dawn Gagnon, Special to the BDN
Posted Sept. 22, 2009, at 10:18 p.m.

TOWNSHIP 37, Maine — Law enforcement and fire agencies are investigating a fire Tuesday at a cabin linked to a “large-scale marijuana growing operation” just northeast of Horse Lake in Washington County, according to a state drug enforcement official.

The fire and the growing operation are connected, Darrell Crandall, MDEA division commander, confirmed Tuesday night.

He declined to say, however, how the two were linked, citing the early stages of the investigation.

The fire was reported sometime in the midafternoon, District Ranger Supervisor Bill Hamilton of the Maine Forest Protection Division said Tuesday night. He said it was not clear to him who reported the fire.

Before it was contained about 7 p.m., the fire consumed about a half-acre of wooded area as well as the cabin and what authorities believe was an outbuilding, Hamilton said.

Horse Lake is in an isolated part of Washington County, between the Stud Mill Road and Route 9, and about eight miles west of the Hancock County line. According to Hamilton, the camp is accessible only by foot or ATV, though it is close to a dirt road.

Because of the remote location and the dry conditions, Maine Forest Service personnel and firefighters and equipment were dispatched from the Forest Protection Division Central Region Headquarters and air operations hangar at Old Town’s DeWitt Field airport to help pinpoint and put out the fire.

Maine State Police troopers, deputies from Washington County Sheriff’s Department and fire crews from Washington and Hancock counties also were sent to the campsite to assist.

Information about how the fire started or who owns the camp was not available Tuesday night.

Crandall said state drug agents and other officials were still working to determine the size of the marijuana farm in the camp area.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Crandall said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/09/22/news/marijuana-growing-operation-cabin-fire-connected/ printed on October 2, 2014