Police: 194 marijuana plants found after Walpole home catches fire

WALPOLE, MASS. (WHDH) - A Walpole man was arrested after nearly 200 marijuana plants were found inside a home that caught fire Tuesday morning, officials said.

Firefighters and police officers responding to a report of a fire at a home at 7 Burrill St. determined the blaze was likely sparked by a marijuana grow operation in the basement, according to the Walpole Police Department.

Patrick Meleo, 45, was arrested after firefighters knocked down the flames and found 194 pot plants, officials said. Under Massachusetts law, residents are allowed to have only six plants.

“They’re lucky that they were able to get out of the house this morning,” Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael said. “Thankfully, the fire department got here fast enough.”

Meleo allegedly told officers that he was stockpiling the marijuana and selling it to make ends meet, according to court documents.

He was arrested and taken to the Walpole Police Department for booking.

Meleo is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

An investigation is ongoing.

(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)