DAMAGE from a fire at a house where cannabis plants were found will leave a landlord thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Devastated businessman Ray Humphries, who has been renting out the house on Market Street, Rhos, yesterday expressed his shock after police seized the class B drugs from the property after Wednesday’s early morning blaze.
The fire led to smoke spreading through adjacent terraced properties with some residents being evacuated. Fire service officers said the fire started in an airing cupboard and was caused by an electrical fault.
Neighbours were woken by shop staff banging on their doors after smoke alerted them to the blaze. Some said they were “lucky to be alive” after the fire.
Police who are investigating the discovery of the cannabis plants are yet to give a number of how many were found and yesterday said no arrests had been made.
Mr Humphries, 50, who is also a member of Rhos Community Council, said the house has been gutted.
Mr Humphries, who also runs the Black Lion pub in the village, said: “The house is a write-off.
“It was lucky no one was hurt.That was the first thing I asked.
“It will cost about £15,000 to £20,000 – it is a complete mess.
“There will also be a loss of income while the property stands empty as it gets done up.
“It will need to be completely refurbished.”
Mr Humphries said the house was rented out and that he had recently served the tenants an eviction noticed due to unpaid rent.
He said he could not believe it when he was told cannabis plants were found inside the house.
“There is a police station about 20 yards away and two cameras facing towards the property,” he said. “It’s madness.”
Chris Coles, 70, who lives next door to the house and was asleep when the fire broke out, has praised staff at the Co-Operative store for alerting him to the blaze.
“I’m thankful to them for getting me out,” he said.
“It could have been a lot worse – I could have died.”
He also said he feels sorry for Mr Humphries after the cannabis plants were found on his property.
“It just sums up society and it just saddens me that people can be so callous,” he added.
Tony Williams, who owns T and C Williams Discount Store next door to the house, said everyone had been shocked to hear that cannabis plants had been found in the property.
“I haven’t seen anyone going in and out of there for a couple of months,” he said. “It was a shock.”
Mr Williams, whose business sells paints and white spirits as well as other flammable goods, added: “We were lucky – it could have been a lot worse.”
Firefighters were at the property for about four hours on Wednesday morning.
Slates were removed from houses to allow crews to pour water into affected homes.