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Kirkwood home explosion leads police to seize marijuana plants

Kirkwood police and fire departments were called to a structure fire on Sunday morning after neighbors heard a loud explosion from a home on Greenleaf Drive

KIRKWOOD, Mo. — Greenleaf Drive is usually a pretty tame, quiet Kirkwood neighborhood, but on Sunday, the Kirkwood Police Crime Scene Unit was camped outside the 400 block investigating an explosion.

They got the call for a structure fire around 9:30 a.m.

When Kirkwood Police and the fire department arrived, they saw smoke coming from the house and windows blown out. Kirkwood Fire Chief Jim Silvernail said the fire blew itself out. 

A police officer entered the home to try to find anyone stuck inside, but the only occupant of the house was already outside when crews arrived. No one was hurt.

The fire chief said he's still uncertain what caused the fire.

Crews measured the air with gas meters before they left and made sure there weren't any hazardous materials.

They temporarily evacuated a few neighbors, but they returned home safely.

Neal Higginbotham lives on the other side of the house and heard the explosion.

"I was doing some house work, and I had just put in the dishes into the dishwasher and then I went upstairs and about 5 minutes later I thought my dishwasher either blew up or I thought something had hit my house it was that loud. I'm two blocks over, and I didn't know what had happened then about 10 minutes later I hear 7 or 8 emergency vehicles come by my house and the end result is what happened right over here," Higginbotham said.

Kirkwood Police Detective Jason Hutchins said the St. Louis Bomb and Arson Squad and the Hazardous Materials Unit assisted with the investigation.

RELATED: Explosion at Kirkwood home under investigation, neighbors evacuated as precaution

Initially, he said they had no reason to believe it was criminal activity, but a few hours after the fire, a 5 On Your Side reporter and photojournalist saw officers take what looked like several large pots of marijuana plants.

When asked to confirm if it was marijuana, Hutchins said, "it looked like it and smelled like it" but couldn't say much more because it's under investigation.

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