William Joseph McCue (Credit: Parker County Sheriff’s Office)

SPRINGTOWN (CBSDFW.COM) —  A full-scale marijuana growth operation was discovered inside a home after authorities responded to a house fire in Springtown on Sunday.

Authorities believe the suspect, 26-year-old William Joseph McCue, started the fire that ultimately implicated him in the crime.

“This rocket scientist goes out there to burn trash — or whatever it was — with all of that wind yesterday. Naturally the fire spreads.” said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler.

Officials suspect that the fire quickly spread from an outdoor burn barrel to nearby grass, then to a storage barn, and eventually to the residence.

The storage barn was completely destroyed, but firefighters were able to extinguish the grass fire and protect the residence. The breakthrough came when firefighters began inspecting the residence for missed hot spots.

“They’re is a hotspot in there,” said Fowler, referencing the house.”So they check it for fire — and guess what.”

Firefighters discovered a full-scale marijuana operation — including an irrigation system, grow lights, timers and humidifiers, along with 24 large hydroponic plants and 17 smaller hydroponic plants. Cultivated marijuana and other drug paraphernalia were also found at the site.

Firefighters notified the Sheriff’s Office, who arrested McCue and charged him with possession of marijuana. McCue implicated himself in tending to the marijuana grow operation.

Sheriff’s deputies took photos of the operation before the fire could destroy the evidence.

“I guess he didn’t count on fire department having access to high-tech equipment,” said Fowler.

Sheriff’s deputies say the residence was under construction to apparently expand the illegal drug operation.

The case is under investigation by the Weatherford-Parker County Special Crimes Unit, and the fire is under investigation by the Parker County Fire Marshal’s Office.

As of Monday morning, McCue remains at the Parker County Jail. Additional charges are pending.

The incident occurred on Meadow View Road around 5:00 p.m.

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