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VENTURA : Plumbing Firm to Be Billed in Fire

The county fire department will request that a Ventura plumbing firm pay the $120,000 cost of fighting a blaze that destroyed 22 luxury apartment buildings in Thousand Oaks, a fire official said Tuesday.

The charges to be levied against Interstate Plumbing include $94,000 in labor costs and $26,000 in damage to fire equipment, chief fire investigator Larry Titus said. Fire trucks, hoses and nozzles received heat damage in the attempt to put out the Nov. 10 fire, he said.

The bill to Interstate is the largest to be issued to a private company this year, Titus said.

But the bill could become higher in coming weeks. Other agencies that assisted the county firefighters--including the Los Angeles County Department, Ventura City and the state Department of Forestry--still must add their firefighting costs, Titus said. About 250 firefighters from Ventura and Los Angeles counties fought the blaze.

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The fire was triggered when a plumber accidentally ignited a building under construction with his soldering torch, causing $12 million in damage to The Knolls apartment complex on Avenida de Los Arboles. Officials from the plumbing company were not available for comment Tuesday.


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