Two arrested after massive Tewksbury fire uncovers large marijuana growing operation

TEWKSBURY, MASS. (WHDH) - Emergency crews rushed to the scene of a massive overnight fire in Tewksbury that police now say may have been caused by a marijuana growing operation.

Police arrested a man and a woman in the home on Herbert Street after officials say the two were growing marijuana in the basement, totaling about 180 plants plus heat lamps and growing equipment. The two are being charged with cultivation of marijuana.

Neighbors are now on edge as investigators search every inch of the home.

“It’s crazy,” said neighbor Lynn Devoe. “It’s really crazy. I’m glad it’s being taken care of.”

The thick smoke and searing flames scorched the home, melting the siding on the front. The fire chief says that while the two suspects were able to make it out, a dog was killed.

“We kind of had a suspicion that something was definitely going on in the house, with all the late-night activity,” Devoe said. “That just doesn’t happen in a neighborhood like this.”

The two people in the home, Thao Nguyen and Minh Pham, appeared in Lowell District Court Monday afternoon, charged with cultivating marijuana.

The defendants told authorities that despite it being their home, they had no idea that a large-scale marijuana growing operation was taking place in the basement.

Neighbors are confused and saddened by the scene, now waiting to learn more about what happened in their backyard.

“It’s sad,” Devoe said. “Very sad.”

Two cars and a boat have been towed from the scene as the investigation continues.

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