2 firms to pay in brush fire case
Two Ventura County companies have agreed to pay the federal government more than $5.4 million in compensation after they allegedly started a wildfire that burned more than 63,000 acres, according to court papers filed Friday.
In a civil lawsuit filed last year, prosecutors alleged that the two companies started the 2003 Piru fire when they were doing construction work on a boat launch in the Lake Piru Recreation Area. Sparks from a cutting tool ignited dry brush nearby and no fire extinguisher was on hand, prosecutors alleged.
Berry Engineering General Contractors agreed to pay $5 million to compensate the U.S. Forest Service. Mendez Concrete, a Santa Paula subcontractor on the project for the United Water Conservation District, agreed to pay $447,423.