WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - A fire at a Winter Haven home revealed a marijuana grow operation and landed the person living there in jail facing serious charges, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
Detectives said Reinaldo Fernandez, 25, was cultivating the drugs by using an illegally electric tap which allowed him to steal electricity; firefighters determined the tap caused the fire.
"He placed himself, he placed any nearby residences, any of those occupants at risk," said Donna Wood, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. "It was certainly a risk that he took that he should not have taken and one that could have cost him his life or the life of someone else."
Investigators told FOX 13 they found 33 marijuana plants spread between two rooms in the home on 28th Street.
Detectives determined that the crimes were so blatantly dangerous that, even if Fernandez didn't mean to set the house on fire, he will still be charged with arson, along with drug-related charges.