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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | BELL CANYON

House Destroyed by 2 Fires, Hours Apart

March 12, 1998|TROY HEIE

A home was destroyed by fire early Wednesday, only hours after firefighters extinguished another blaze that damaged the building.

The first fire, caused by a fuel leak from a go-cart, began about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. It caused $85,000 in damage to the three-car garage and a bedroom at the home on Saddlebow Road.

Fire crews left the scene by midnight, but a second fire in a separate part of the home was reported about 4:45 a.m., said Joe Luna, an investigator with the Ventura County Fire Department.

The cause of the second blaze--which destroyed the rest of the house, raising the damage estimate to $270,000--is under investigation, Luna said.

Ventura County Sheriff's Department investigators were called to the scene Wednesday, and arson has not been ruled out, according to Luna.

"After the first fire was knocked down, the fire crews doused the house with lots of water to prevent something like this from happening," he said. "We're looking at all indicators and factors in regards to burn patterns and eyewitness accounts from the second fire."

The owner of the home and his family stayed with a friend several houses up the street after the first fire, Luna said. Private security guards were patrolling the residential area Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, he said.

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