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Firefighters Find Pot-Growing Operation As They Battle Blaze

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Mitchell Pelc (Courtesy Springfield Fire)

Mitchell Pelc (Courtesy Springfield Fire)

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Springfield Police say the owner of a building where the fire broke out kept going back inside while firefighters were on the scene,  retrieving “items” from the burning building,  and eventually was overcome by smoke and rushed to a hospital.  Firefighters fighting the fire,  caused by a faulty aquarium pump, told police at the scene they found large amounts of marijuana in the basement and two floors of the Draper Street house.

Officers returned with a search warrant  and found forty marijuiana plants, hydroponics, lighting and a feeding and watering system,  They also found more than fifty pounds of marijuana,  plus plant fragments and seeds,  and a dozen firearms — including handguns, automatic weapons and rifles.

Police say both the owner, identified as 31-year-old Paul Jeannenot,  and his first floor renter,  31-year-old Mitchell Pelc face drug and weapons charges.  Jeannenot is under police guard at a hospital, where he is recovering from smoke inhalation and burns.

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