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Police Looking For Tenants After Marijuana Grow House Explosion

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SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — Police and fire crews responding to the scene of an explosion at a home in Southwest Miami-Dade found a marijuana grow house inside, investigators said Saturday.

Police are looking for the people who fled the home at 6355 SW 151 Place after 10 Saturday morning. Authorities said they are renters. Neighbors told CBS 4 News a small child lived in the home. The landlord has been notified.

“The neighbors were the ones that called in an explosion that occured at this house,” Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta explained. “Once personnel responded, police and fire, they were able to secure the inside of the residence, make sure there was nobody inside.”

Investigators say the pressure of the explosion caused the roof to lift off, before coming back down.

“It sound like a bomb,” Daisy Saballos said. She was walking to her car two blocks away when she heard a loud “boom”.

“We were laying in bed awake and all of the sudden our house immediately just rumbled and shook,” neighbors Orlando Martinez said. “It was very loud.”

Martinez said it felt like he was in an earthquake.

The woman who lives across the street from the damaged home was still wearing the pajamas seven hours after the blast.

“I woke up. I felt really really shook up,” Annette Chicoy said. “It’s very scary to be in a nice neighborhood. This is very quiet nice neighbrhood and to find now these things.”

Chicoy said she could smell the odor of marijuana from outside her home Saturday afternoon.

Police have not been able to determine how many plants are inside or what exactly caused the blast.

“They have chemicals, a lot of different types of vapor in there,” Det. Zabaleta said. “They use electricity they steal from the company. Obviously they don’t do it by code. They don’t do it by professionals. When you combine all these elements it creates a formula for disaster.”

Windows are blown out, roof tiles are shattered, and insulation fills the entry way. A long crack stretches from one side of the home to the other.

Police say, by the time they arrived, the people inside the home had driven away from what investigators are calling one of the worst grow houses they’ve seen in years.

“This is something we can’t allow within our residences,” Det. Zabaleta said. “Our children can be in danger. A lot of innocent people are in danger. And we’re asking the community that everybody keep their eyes open and their ears open.

Police say they are looking for an SUV and a sedan. One of the neighbors told CBS 4 News the sedan was a black Nissan with tinted windows.

Once this investigation is complete, police say the plan is to demolish the house. That will likely take place Sunday.

If you have any information about the renters who lived there and where they may be, contact Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).

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