A Modesto man was arrested this afternoon after 18 pot plants were discovered by firefighters trying to put out a blaze in the detached garage he was renting.
Michael Allen Kendrick, 43, was charged with cultvation of marijuana, a felony, according to Sgt. Brian Findlen of the Modesto Police Department.
Firefighters were called to a house in the 100 block of College Avenue after there were reports of smoke coming from a large detached near the alley.
There were "rooms" inside the garage partitioned off by plywood planks, with the windows boarded up tight. Firefighters created ventilation through the roof, and were able to put the fire out in about 15 minutes, according to Battalion Chief Dan Hinshaw.
Once inside, firefighters struggled to make their way through old air-conditioner units, filing cabinets and other items.
They then stumbled upon the marijuana plants, some as high as five feet, and other growing equipment. They called police.
Kendrick was the only occupant of the structure, Hinshaw said.
He said the fire started when Kendrick was spray-painting inside, and a heater that was running ignited the fumes, which ignited some of the contents inside.