On Monday night some well-meaning Lower East Side citizen called the FDNY to report smoke coming from a building on Rivington. But there was no fire, just steam leaking from a faulty boiler. And when firefighters searched the basement looking for the source of the problem, they came along a sizable stash of marijuana plants. A tipster told Bowery Boogie all about the bust, and the FDNY has confirmed to us that they found the marijuana in the basement, and "a large hole in the ground" in the rear of the building.
Even worse, residents of 10 apartments were forced to evacuate (at 2 a.m.!) because there was no rear fire escape, and one of them turned himself over to police for the pot farm. For those keeping score, this isn't the first LES pot farm to get stumbled upon; in 2003 police followed a strong marijuana smell to an apartment that had sliding bookcases which concealed a marijuana farm. This one was located above a children's day care center, enabling the classic headline "Upstairs - Pot, Downstairs - Tot."