An official with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office has confirmed to The Chief that a marijuana growing operation was being conducted in the structure at 24759 Mosier Road that was destroyed by fire on Monday, June 20.
"It was in fact a marijuana grow, Columbia County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Steven Salle said. "But it is yet to be seen if it was a legal marijuana growing operation."
Salle said he is checking with the Oregon Health Department, which oversees the state’s marijuana growing operations, to see if the property owner has permits for such an operation.
"If what he [the property owner] explained to me is correct, than the grow is legal,” Salle said. “If it is an illegal operation, I will submit a report of what we found to the Columbia County District Attorney and the DA will decide if prosecution is necessary.”
Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District Chief Steve Sharek said the fire cause has been ruled undetermined.
The Chief's previous coverage posted at 12:54 June 20:
Fire crews rushed to the scene of a structure fire Monday morning, June 20, at 24759 Mosier Road.
"The fire was fully involved when we arrived with flames coming out of the roof," Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District Chief Steve Sharek said. "The owner was home, but unaware of the blaze as it started. A neighbor discovered the blaze and called 911."
Sharek said the neighbor rushed over with a garden hose and actually helped protect the surrounding forest land until fire crews arrived.
The crews were challenged due to the lack of fire hydrants.
"We had to haul water in from a nearby creek," Sharek said.
There were no injuries and the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.