Kitchen Fire Leads To Drug Search

Baking Dish, Oven Mitt Among Items Seized

Posted: May 15, 2014

HARRISONBURG — An oven fire at a Harrisonburg apartment last week led police to search the home for drugs.

The Harrisonburg Fire Department responded to an apartment at 1171 Devon Lane shortly after 9 p.m. on May 7.

After extinguishing the blaze, a fire marshal noticed drugs and drug paraphernalia inside the apartment, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Rockingham County Circuit Court.

He then summoned a police officer assisting with traffic control.

“While I was standing in the apartment, [the fire marshal] was explaining how the stories of the two individuals involved did not match up,” the officer wrote in the affidavit.

Among other items, the officer noted, he saw a cut-up 2-liter plastic bottle typically used to create a water pipe to smoke marijuana.

Officers say they seized a bottle of butane, some suspected marijuana, an oven mitt, a glass baking dish, smoking devices, grinders and a set of scales.

The affidavit did not say why the baking materials were seized but police have noted an increase in “edibles,” a term given to baked goods that include marijuana as an ingredient. The practice has gained some notoriety of late due to its popularity in Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana is legal.

Firefighters say the fire began while a man in his 20s was cooking. When he tried to extinguish the fire, he suffered burns to his hands and chest, they say.

The man, whose name was not released, also suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to Sentara RMH Medical Center. It’s unclear if he was seriously injured.

The apartment, located in an off-campus housing complex near the James Madison University campus, had minimal fire damage, according to fire officials.

No charges have been filed. Police are continuing to investigate.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or