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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / MALIBU

Corral Canyon fire victims sue

October 24, 2008|Victoria Kim

Residents of Malibu's Corral Canyon whose homes were destroyed in last year's devastating wildfires sued the state this week, saying officials failed to heed warnings from residents about late-night parties and campers causing fire hazards.

Five men who were holding an illegal campfire in a cave in the canyon have been charged with starting the blaze, which razed 53 homes, 35 outbuildings, 37 vehicles and one mobile home last November.

Residents in the lawsuit filed this week said they had complained to authorities for years about parties and bonfires in the canyon and the potential for wildfires. The cave's walls were covered in graffiti, and broken beer bottles lined its opening, according to the suit.

Richard Kinnan, one of the attorneys representing 96 homeowners and tenants, said the structures ranged from multimillion-dollar homes to modest bungalows. Valuable property, including art collections containing Jackson Pollock paintings, were also destroyed in the fire, he said.

-- Victoria Kim

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