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THOUSAND OAKS : At Least 3 Homeless After Apartment Fire

An apartment building fire sparked by a faulty water heater left at least three people temporarily homeless Sunday.

No one was injured in the blaze, which started about 1:45 p.m. at a Westlake Villas apartment complex on Hampshire Road. Damage to the building was estimated at $20,000 and there were no reports on contents damage.

Ventura County fire crews found smoke coming from the building eaves when they arrived at 1:52 p.m. The fire, which started in a water-heater closet near a flue, spread up the flue and onto the wood-shingle roof before firefighters could contain it.

Five apartments near the fire were evacuated. Two sustained damage.

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Richard Rink, director of disaster services for the Ventura County branch of the American Red Cross, said one man whose apartment suffered water damage would probably continue living in the apartment during the cleanup.

Occupants of the second apartment--which suffered water, smoke and fire damage--would move to another apartment within the complex in the next few days, Rink said. The displaced tenants would spend the next two nights in a local hotel courtesy of the Red Cross.

“It looks like their needs right now will probably be food and temporary housing, and then from there, they’ll be able to move into a new unit with most of their possessions,” Rink said. “I’m very glad to see it’s worked that way, because we respond to so many where people lose everything.”


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