Garage, Shed Fires Cause $76,000 Loss

Flammable liquid ignited by a water heater and embers from an unattended outdoor grill were to blame in two unrelated fires that caused a total of $76,000 in damage and displaced three people from their home, authorities said Saturday.

The fires occurred Friday night, one in an Ojai garage and a smaller one at a storage shed in El Rio, said Vicki Crabtree of the Ventura County Fire Department's communications center.

Both were contained by 9:30 p.m. and no injuries were reported, Crabtree said.

The larger blaze started at 8:42 p.m. in a garage behind Marilyn Lyon Counseling at 315 W. Ojai Ave. in Ojai. A flammable liquid started a fire that caused $75,000 damage to the garage and business, Crabtree said. Twenty-one firefighters responded.

Three people were displaced because of smoke damage to a nearby apartment, fire officials said. The residents declined help from the Red Cross.

At 8:15 p.m., fire erupted at a shed next to RNC Ground Cover Nursery at 2667 Cortez St. in El Rio, Crabtree said. Hazardous material experts responded because the shed contained more than 100 pounds of pesticides and fertilizers, fire officials said.

Residents living in a trailer near the shed left a barbecue grill unattended, fire officials said. The fire, which caused $1,000 in damage, also was fought by 21 firefighters.

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