London Brigade: Pot Factory Fires Soaring

They've more than doubled during the past two years, according to the department.

Marijuana factory fires have more than doubled during the past two years, according to new data released by the London Fire Brigade. The department, the UK's biggest, reported that last year, there was one fire every two weeks in buildings used to cultivate marijuana, a rate more than twice in 2010/11. During last year's fires, almost all of them were in residential properties, and they are often booby trapped.

"Fires in cannabis factories are extremely dangerous due to the large amount of heating and lighting equipment used to grow the plants. In a large number of cases, electricity has been illegally sourced, bypassing the conventional routes. On average, fires involving cannabis factories require four fire engines and over 20 firefighters to bring the intense blazes under control," according to the department.

"Cannabis factory fires can be severe due 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 neighboring buildings," said Dave Brown, a brigade third officer. "Firefighters can also be exposed to risks when dealing with the fires due to dodgy wiring and booby traps at some of the properties. It's important that people know the key signs and inform the police so that they can act swiftly to prevent these dangerous fires."

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