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Police Investigate Grow House Explosion

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South Florida Crime

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — A south Miami-Dade home used to grow marijuana was deemed unsafe Sunday afternoon after an explosion inside it the day before literally lifted parts of the roof off.

What will happen next to the home, at 6355 SW 151 Place, will be up to the county’s building department.

“The neighbors were the ones that called in an explosion that occurred 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 said 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.”

Meanwhile police are searching for the people who had rented the home.

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.

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

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