Firefighters extinguish a fire Saturday at medical marijuana facility in Gorham

Dec. 4—Firefighters from Gorham and surrounding towns responded to a fire at a medical marijuana growing facility on Bartlett Road Saturday, Gorham Fire Chief Kenneth Fickett said Sunday.

The fire severely damaged one of the grow rooms and a foyer, but the fire didn't spread to the other grow rooms, Fickett said. "It's a huge facility. There are 10 grow rooms," he added.

The call came in around 7:30 p.m. after temperature monitors alerted a facility worker, Fickett said. When the worker came to investigate, the grow room was filled with smoke. He reportedly slammed the door and called for help.

When firefighters arrived, the grow room, which is about 20 by 40 feet, was filled with black smoke and a foul smell of plastic burning. The fire was caused by older grow lights that had malfunctioned, the fire chief said.

When firefighters entered the room they wore a breathing apparatus to protect them from getting high, which can happen when mature marijuana plants burn, Fickett said.

"Luckily these weren't full-fledged plants. We didn't have that issue," he said. "But that's why we would never enter that building without a breathing apparatus."

No one was injured in the fire, Fickett said.

Gorham received mutual aid on the scene from Westbrook, Windham and Standish.

The chief did not know who owned the medical marijuana facility at 36 Bartlett Road.

Gorham town records show there was a public hearing in May to grant medical marijuana licenses to John Larochelle for 36 Bartlett Road, Unit 7B and to Carlos Barajas for 36 Bartlett Road, Unit 8A. Both units are owned by Hinks Realty.