Man rescued from burning home arrested after police find grow operation, weapons

Charleston police say John Ferrell, 63, was arrested after they found a marijuana grow operation, along with weapons and ammunition inside his home during a fire investigation. (WCHS/WVAH)

A fire investigation in Kanawha City has led to the arrest of the homeowner after police said they found a large marijuana grow operation along with hundreds of guns and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition.

John Ferrell, 63, of Charleston is charged with being a prohibited person with a gun and cultivation of marijuana.

Ferrell was rescued from his home about 6 a.m. Wednesday at 5203 Noyes Ave.

Firefighters said he called 911, saying he was trapped in his second floor bedroom because flames were coming from the first floor. Firefighters were able to rescue Ferrell, and he was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital.

Meanwhile, a Charleston firefighter had to be taken to the hospital after suffering from inhalation burns, said Lt. David Hodges with the Charleston Fire Department. The injured firefighter has been identified as Captain Shane McComas.

When police went to the home, Capt. Mark Abbott said, they found a large indoor marijuana grow operation along with hundreds of guns and a large amount of ammunition.

"There's probably over a hundred weapons in this house and probably over hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition that we have just saw. We haven't even started our search yet. Obviously, there's some concern on our part to try and figure out what's going on here with the marijuana grow and the weaponry in the house," Abbott said.

Police obtained a search warrant for the home.

While they were there investigating, Ferrell showed back up at the home in hospital gown. He was immediately arrested.

Abbott said it wasn't clear if he left the hospital on his own but told police he took a bus back to Kanawha City.

Ferrell is currently awaiting arraignment.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but police said it started in the kitchen.

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