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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Deputies: House fire leads to marijuana bust in Palm Harbor

A kitchen fire in a Palm Harbor home Friday led to the discovery of a marijuana grow operation and the arrest of the home's 50-year-old owner, deputies said. Kerry S. Nichols, of 3749 Appleton Court, was charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana, deputies said. Firefighters responded to reports of smoke at Nichols home at 8:38 p.m. and found a fire coming from food that was cooking on a stove, deputies said. Nichols apparently had fallen asleep while the food was cooking, deputies said. He was not injured.
After quickly putting out the fire, firefighters suspected the home might contain a meth lab, deputies said. A hazardous materials team was called to the home and discovered a grow operation in a back room of the residence, deputies said. Four plants and other equipment were seized, deputies said.
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