A fast-moving fire that destroyed several greenhouses filled with marijuana plants at Loudpack Farms in Greenfield was caused by an employee who improperly put out a tobacco cigarette, fire investigators told KSBW Tuesday.
The blaze broke out just after 4:20 p.m. July 23, and caused $15 million in damages.
The fire sent more than 100 employees running to safety as flames ripped through the cannabis facility on Cherry Avenue. No one was injured.
Rumors swirled around town as some wondered if ill intentions were behind sparking the fire.
But Fire Chief Jeff Terpstra told KSBW Tuesday that the fire was accidental. Investigators found no signs of arson or criminal intent.
The fire’s origin was traced to a spot between two greenhouses that was not designated for smoking, Terpstra said.
“It was very, very windy and the wind eddy between the buildings probably helped perpetuate the fire. It’s a tragic thing to happen as a result of a cigarette. But the rest of the investigation really ruled out any other cause,” Terpstra said.
An employee either discarded the cigarette, or improperly put it out.
“There was no malicious intent,” Terpstra said.
Loudpack Farms is Greenfield’s largest employer and specializes in growing and manufacturing medical cannabis.
A Loudpack Farms company spokesperson said smoking is not permitted anywhere on the property.
“The employee was aware of our no smoking policy and made a poor decision,” spokesperson Jessica Sutton said. “This was an unfortunate incident. But we are moving forward from it and maintaining production at our facility.”
“We are already in the planning phase of construction to begin to restore the greenhouses,” she said.