Fire near Castro Valley preschool possibly related to illegal marijuana grow

Bay Area

CASTRO VALLEY (KRON) — A house fire broke out in Castro Valley Tuesday morning right next door to a Christian Preschool, just as the school day was starting.

Investigators say the cause of the fire appears to be connected to an illegal marijuana growing operation.

A man seen on video being taken away in handcuffs is one of four people arrested at the scene of an illegal marijuana grow house on Santa Maria Avenue in Castro Valley.

Just after 7 a.m., Alameda County Fire responded to a garage burning in the rear of the property and discovered evidence of the marijuana grow.

“It was lots of smoke. Kind of scary for the kids,” said Helen Glendinning with Miss Helen’s Preschool.

The fire was burning right next door to Unity Church, which is also the Glendinning’s preschool.

She says she had no idea the illegal grow was happening on the other side of the fence.

She says the people who lived next to the church were not very neighborly. She believes now she knows why.

“We kind of knew it, that something was going on over there. We tried to be friendly with them but they are not too friendly. They don’t talk too much,” she said.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confiscated 450 marijuana plants. It took about an hour to put out the fire and no one was injured.

Although the cause is yet to be determined, investigators say residential fires connected to illegal marijuana grow operations are fairly common in the Bay Area.

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