An investigation into reports of smoke at a Palm Harbor home Friday night ended with a felony drug charge and a trip to jail for a man who lived there.
Kerry Stefon Nichols, 60, is charged with felony manufacturing/cultivation of marijuana.
Pinellas County Sheriff's investigators say around 8:38 p.m. Friday, Palm Harbor Firefighters and deputies responded to a call about smoke coming from a home at 3749 Appleton Ct., which is in the Lake St. George subdivision.
The fire was caused by food cooking on a stove and was quickly put out. Detectives say Nichols apparently fell asleep while the food was cooking.
While responding to the blaze, firefighters initially suspected there might be a meth lab inside the home, so a haz-mat team was called to search the house. No meth lab was found, however investigators say they found a marijuana growing operation in a back room of the home. About four marijuana plants and grow-op equipment was seized, according to a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.
No one was injured during the incident.
Nichols was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. As of Saturday morning, he had not bonded out. Bond was set at $5,150.
In October, two people who live about a half-mile away from Nichols were arrested on drug charges after a meth lab was allegedly found at their home.