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Fireworks Played Role in 9 Blazes

June 11, 2002

Ventura County fires started with fireworks:

* June 2001: A teenager is accused of starting a 275-acre blaze in the hills between Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley with an illegal firecracker. Restitution of $305,114.57 is requested of the teen's family. Negotiations are ongoing.

* December 1999: Two teenagers spark the Ranch fire in Ojai, which burned one house and 4,300 acres, cost $3 million to fight and did $2 million in damage. The suspects, both 18, plead guilty to causing the fire and are sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, $150 a month in restitution and five years' probation.

* July 1997: Three units of an apartment complex are damaged in a blaze sparked by fireworks. Damage is estimated at $30,000.

* June 1997: A four-acre blaze in Thousand Oaks started by fireworks comes to within 30 feet of homes.

* September 1996: A one-acre fire near Lake Piru is sparked by people playing with fireworks.

* July 1996: Two teenagers are arrested on suspicion of sparking a 400-acre brush fire near Ventura's Ondulando neighborhood. They are sued by Ventura County for the $235,000 cost of fighting the fire. The case is later settled, with the families' insurance paying nearly all the costs.

* July 1996: A bottle rocket causes $60,000 damage to a Camarillo house.

* April 1996: Four teenage boys are accused of setting off bottle rockets in Thousand Oaks. Less than an acre of brush burns.

* July 1995: Fireworks spark a blaze that causes about $65,000 in damage to a Thousand Oaks home.

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