Last week, a California warehouse holding nine Nissan Skylines, three more rare Japanese imported cars, more than a dozen other vehicles and most unfortunately two dogs burned to the ground. Now, an investigation of the scene appears to have coincidentally discovered an illegal marijuana farm setting up shop next door.
International Vehicle Importers (IVI), the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) car seller that suffered the fire, posted on Facebook that they suspect their alleged ganja-growing neighbors “overloaded the main power breakers, and this caused the fire.”
In the comments on that same post IVI posited that these neighbors were new and unknown, having moved in after previous tenant of the industrial facility at 146 S. Granite in Ontario, California had occupied the space next to International Vehicle Importers for four years.
Experts disagree with IVI’s assessment though, as Ontario Deputy Fire Chief Mike Pelletier told Road & Track: “In regards to the structure fire in question there has been no indication that the cause was related to the illegal activity at the location.”
R&T also quoted Ontario FD’s Investigation Supervisor Brent Correggia saying, “we’re not finding anything linking [the marijuana operation] to the fire.”
But apparently there was some sort of marijuana operation, as evidenced by the search warrant IVI posted that seems to indicate “26 ripe marijuana plants” and “300 immature marijuana plants” were discovered at the S. Granite St. location. It was apparently not damaged by the blaze.
Jalopnik reached out to the Ontario, CA police department for comment and a Watch Commander has promised to return our call soon. We’ll update you when we hear back.
Growing and selling marijuana is legal in California under certain circumstances, however it would appear that the operation allegedly attempting to do so next door to IVI was not operating legitimately.
And while IVI maintains that these suspected growers caused the fire by overpowering a circuit breaker, multiple on-scene experts disagreeing seems to disprove that theory fairly conclusively.
Regardless, the loss of these beautiful vehicles and animals is a tremendous tragedy.