GLACIER - A fire at an A-frame cabin once used to house a marijuana growing operation near Glacier was still under investigation late Thursday, Oct. 4.
Firefighters were called at 1 p.m. to a cluster of three cabins near the Chair 9 Woodstone Pizza & Bar, in the 10400 block of Mount Baker Highway. They arrived to find one cabin already swallowed by flames. Another cabin about 25 feet away was also in danger, said Fire District 14 Chief Jerry DeBruin.
One wall of the second cabin sustained serious damage and the entire building was flooded with smoke. Firefighters focused on saving the second cabin. The first was a total loss.
No one was home at the time of the fire.
In June 2011, deputies served a search warrant on one of the cabins - firefighters, the deputy fire marshal and law enforcement didn't know as of Thursday if this was the first or second cabin - and found 256 marijuana plants inside, according to charging documents. At the time, deputies described electrical problems inside the cabin: Extension cords had melted near the connections and outlets had burned.
Prosecutors alleged the owners, Steven and Starlare Hovander, had a medical marijuana license, but even with a license, it's illegal to have more than 15 growing plants per person in Washington state.
The Hovanders posted bail soon after they were charged. That court case is ongoing.
Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks didn't believe any criminal investigation was underway in connection with the fire. Deputy Fire Marshall Wain Harrison said the fire's cause remained under investigation.
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