2 firms to pay in brush fire case

LAKE PIRU

Los Angeles Times - - Beliefs - — Teresa Watanabe

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.

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