Former Natrona fire hall packed with marijuana-growing equipment
Harrison police confiscated thousands of dollars worth of equipment on Sunday from a marijuana-growing operation in the former Natrona fire hall.
The building's owner, James Kubla, 35, of Harrison, will be arraigned Monday on drug-related charges in connection to the hydroponic operation along River Avenue, police said.
Kubla has been in the Allegheny County Jail since Saturday, when police arrested him for a domestic dispute in his River Avenue home.
Patrolman Floyd “Bucky” Taraszewski said police received information following Kubla's arrest that he was using the fire hall to grow “large amounts” of marijuana.
After obtaining a search warrant through District Judge Carolyn Bengel's office, police searched the fire hall at about 4 p.m. Sunday. A small bag of marijuana and a garbage bag full of the plant's leaves were discovered among hundreds of items used for a “flow grow” operation, Taraszewski said.
“It was a very elaborate and sophisticated irrigation system,” he said. “It's the largest one I've ever seen.”
Among the items that police confiscated from the fire hall were a 425-gallon plastic water tanker, two 55-gallon aluminum cylinders, about 150 fence posts used to stake the marijuana plants, eight 16-inch PVC pipes with built-in irrigation systems and 10 metal haloid lamps, commonly used to grow marijuana, Taraszewski said.
Police said they believe large amounts of marijuana had been removed from the building recently.
Taraszewski said he couldn't give a precise estimate of the inventory's worth beyond thousands of dollars, and didn't know how much marijuana the system could produce or at what rate.
Crews from Hilltop Hose Company of Harrison loaded the inventory onto two flatbed trucks and a pickup from 6 to 7 p.m. while traffic was shut down from Chestnut to Sycamore streets.
It was unknown what charges Kubla might face in connection with the growing operation. He was being detained on Sunday on simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct charges stemming from Saturday afternoon's domestic dispute. His preliminary hearing for those charges is scheduled for Jan. 29.
The building hasn't been used as a fire hall in more than 20 years, according to Hilltop Captain Mike Krzeminski.
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mia Z (Zanotti) of Hyde Park advances on NBC’s ‘The Voice’
- South Buffalo family business decides not to rebuild after fire
- ‘Big Mo’ ranks with A-K’s gridiron greats
- Salt demand high in Alle-Kiski Valley
- Three escape North Apollo fire
- Bridge work to resume in Springdale
- Frazer supervisors amend maintenance code
- Fawn bridge replacement to delay traffic
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- Vermont Baptist Church warmly welcomed in New Kensington
- Vandergrift cuts back on park spending to fix pool leak