Fire at frat blamed on pot lights

Bay City News
Friday August 31, 2001

Police and fire officials in Berkeley say that a small fire at a University of California fraternity on Tuesday was caused by lights that were being used to grow hydroponic marijuana. 

According to Debra Pryor, deputy chief of the Berkeley Fire Department, the fire was reported at about 2:20 a.m. Tuesday at the Zeta Psi fraternity, at 2728 Bancroft Way. 

The fire started in a second story closet. It activated the sprinklers and caused $10,000 in water damage. Pryor said all of the building's occupants got out safely and there were no injuries reported. 

The cause of the fire has been determined to be electrical in nature, Pryor said, from the lights that were being used to grow the plants. 

Police spokeswoman Lt. Cynthia Harris said several marijuana plants were found inside the closet, but would not comment further on the case.  

Police have identified a suspect, but the name is not being released, Harris said, and added that the matter was sent to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office earlier this week for possible charging.  

Janet Gilmore, spokeswoman for the UC Berkeley, said she couldn't  

provide specific details about the case, but noted that the student code of conduct prohibits drug use, manufacture and growth. 

She added that this case has been referred to the university's judicial council for review.