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OC Fire Authority To Refund Firms For Missed Hazmat Inspections

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(CBS) Ron Kilgore
Ron Kilgore is a 36-year broadcast veteran in radio and televi...
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SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Nearly 1,500 firms in Orange County that were billed $360,000 for a mandatory hazardous materials inspection — but never received one — are expected to receive a refund, authorities said Thursday.

KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports the number of missed inspections totals about half of the 2,600 that the Orange County Fire Authority is required to conduct.

OCFA Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion said the inspections are critical not simply for private industry but also for the public at large.

“It’s for the safety of the community as well as for the safety of the firefighters responding to those businesses if they have to,” said Concepcion.

But due to an apparent communications oversight, the inspections – which are aimed at requiring businesses that use or store hazardous materials to report specific materials to state regulators – “did not actually get done,” Concepcion said.

Officials discovered the error in the current OCFA budget, but left open the possibility that fees for missed inspections were also charged prior to this year.

“To those businesses that did not receive the services they were billed for, we will be sending refunds back,” said Concepcion.

The Fire Authority also has worked toward the implementation of a new system of checks and balances to ensure future hazmat inspections receive higher priority.

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