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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / OXNARD

Arson Blamed in Fires at Seniors Complex

July 29, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

Two dozen residents of a city-owned senior-citizen housing complex were evacuated Tuesday when several small fires were set inside trash cans and on mounted extinguishers inside the building, fire officials said.

Thick black smoke was spotted about 4:15 a.m. on the first floor of the five-story building at 801 South C St., Oxnard Fire Inspector Dan Gildea said.

Several first-floor residents were evacuated while the remaining tenants, about 100 people, were told to stay inside their apartments. One resident was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, Gildea said.

Fires were set on paper tags hanging from first-floor fire extinguishers and inside first-floor trash cans, Oxnard Firefighter Brian Mahoney said.

"Investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set and that a total of six different fires were set in an attempt to catch the building on fire," according to Gildea's report.

Residents were allowed to return inside the building shortly before 6 a.m. There were no arrests as of Tuesday night.

A total of 23 city and Ventura County firefighters were dispatched. Smoke and fire damage was estimated at $5,000, Gildea said.

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