What was once a quiet neighborhood has become the talk of the town, neighbors said as they gathered on sidewalks in the East Dallas enclave of Alger Park. Five Dallas Fire Rescue trucks were on the scene at Peavy Road and Carnegie Dr., blocking off Peavy to traffic, forcing motorists to meander through the area.
They were all gathered to see Dallas police and firefighters put out a house fire at 9924 Carnegie Dr. The home, a 1951 Austin stone traditional with a large front yard, was the site of two small explosions and a large fire that blew out the garage doors, neighbors said.
“It’s a really hot area in Dallas, and people pay attention to that,” said Alger Park resident Monica Gerlach, who was chatting with Susan Hill. “I’ve lived in this area for 25 years, and stuff like this never happens.”
And yet, the neighborhoods surrounding Peavy Road have taken hit after hit recently. First there was the drug-addled man who died while in police custody. Then the murder of Zoe Hastings and the double murder of a mother and daughter in nearby Casa View.
“This has been such a sleepy area,” Hill said. “We usually watch out for each other.”
Which made the discovery of a marijuana grow operation in their midst quite a surprise, to say the least. And no, the plants themselves were not very charred, so the neighborhood didn’t get any buzz from the smoke.
While firefighters and police officers on the scene didn’t have a definitive cause for the fire, some were willing to speculate that the marijuana plants might have had something to do with it.
“There was nothing official,” said neighbor and bystander Marc Chartrand, “but they said ‘Weed doesn’t explode itself.’ ”
Firefighters tamed the blaze, which seemed to center on the garage and back of the home. Then Dallas Police Narcotics officers showed up minutes later, clad in balaclavas, to check out the home and confiscate the estimated 50 plants from the property and loaded them up in the back of a pick-up truck along with two aluminum gas tanks.
Dallas Central Appraisal District records show that the home is owned by a Tracye Stewart in Clovis, N.M. Sales records were not available for the property.
A nearby resident said that the property owner had been in trouble with code enforcement because of the steel pipe fence in the front yard, but others said that the homeowners kept mostly to themselves. The trim on the home had been repainted a bright blue within the last few years, but it was an otherwise non-descript location.
While it’s often difficult to sell a property after a fire, we’ll have to see if the discovery of a marijuana grow operation on the site will impact the home’s marketability.