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SIMI VALLEY | East Ventura County Focus

Clothing Damaged in Warehouse Fire

September 18, 1997|NICK GREEN

Seven people were treated for smoke inhalation after a "suspicious" early morning fire at a massive clothing warehouse in Simi Valley, authorities said.

The fire caused minimal damage to the 240,000-square-foot distribution facility operated by Bugle Boy Industry's on Easy Street, but sent up a plume of white smoke that could be seen half a mile away, said Capt. Kevin Kissane of the Ventura County Fire Department.

Six employees were treated and released at Simi Valley Hospital, but 54-year-old Donald Singleton of Chatsworth was taken to Columbia Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks for additional treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Forty-nine employees were evacuated from the warehouse.

Sprinklers inside the $11.7-million facility helped extinguish the fire, which started shortly before 8 a.m. in a pallet of denim clothing about 5 feet off the ground, Kissane said.

The facility contained an estimated $45 million worth of clothing stacked on pallets to a height of 25 feet.

"The fire load was huge," Kissane said. "If the fire had gotten going without a sprinkler system in place we would have lost most of the building."

Clothing valued at $240,000 sustained water or smoke damage, while damage to the structure was only $1,000, fire officials said.

Firefighters donned breathing apparatus as they doused smoldering cardboard boxes and clothes amid thick smoke, Kissane said.

Fire investigators said they suspected the fire was deliberately set.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.

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