INDIANTOWN, Fla. — Multiple agencies are investigating an early-morning fire at a home in western Martin County they say was being used for a large marijuana-growing operation.
Authorities said the fire occurred at about 4 a.m. Thursday in the 9900 block of SW Fox Brown Road near Indiantown.
"This is a multi-million dollar operation. This did not start overnight," said Chief Deputy John Budensiek of the Martin County Sheriff's Office. "This has been operating by professionals."
Video from the Martin County Sheriff's Office showed the home was fully engulfed by flames. What sparked the fire is being investigated by the fire marshal.
Chopper 5 flew over the scene just after 11 a.m. and spotted investigators still there, including members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office said it was a marijuana grow operation in a pole barn, fully equipped and pirated electricity.
Budensiek said fire rescue workers, who were the first ones at the scene, did not know what they were encountering.
"They didn't know that there were walls of wires ... all in this rubble," Budensiek said. "There was nitrous and there some propane, so it was a dangerous situation for everybody."
The pole barn is on a roughly 20-acre property that used to be a tree farm.
The heavy brush and trees that were left behind, plus covering up the equipment with mesh, made the operation unseen from authorities.
Roughly 600 fully-mature marijuana plants were growing on the property.
At the house, near the property, authorities said there are about 50 to 100 matured marijuana plants growing there and a couple of hundred pounds of processed weed ready to be shipped.
The fire marshal and other investigators with the Martin County's Office were at the scene most of the day.
Authorities said the owner is a woman from Miami.
Budensiek said the operation also impacted the environment.
"You walk around this property, you can see where they dug holes, and they buried empty fertilizer, jugs, trash and destroyed this piece of property," Budensiek said.
No arrests have been made, but authorities are following up with the Miami property owner.