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THOUSAND OAKS : Residents Warned of Fireplace Hazards

Thousand Oaks officials are warning residents of a North Ranch neighborhood that metal fireplaces in their homes may have been improperly installed, creating a safety concern.

Homeowners in the 5-year-old Master Series housing development who are worried about potential problems can receive free city safety inspections, said Barry Branagan, director of the city’s Building and Safety Department.

A private inspection company reported the suspected fire safety code violations to the city, Branagan said. The builder of the housing tract, Casden Co. of Beverly Hills, has agreed to fix that house, he said.

The city, however, is seeking to have the housing development company correct the problem at all houses that are discovered to be in violation of codes, Branagan said.

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Joe Dominguez, the company’s customer relations director, said Tuesday he had no comment on the city’s actions.

The company agreed to correct two fireplace code violations in one house, Branagan said. In one, a decorative wooden mantel above the front face of the fireplace was built too close to the fireplace opening, he said.

The second violation involves insulation material surrounding the hearth under the fireplace, which is not up to the manufacturer’s company specifications, Branagan said.

He added that the problems do not appear to be serious hazards unless roaring fires are built in the fireplace.

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“To create a hazard, you’d have to build one heck of a fire in there,” Branagan said.


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