VENTURA (KNX 1070) — Prosecutors say two Ventura County companies blamed for starting the 2003 Piru Fire have agreed to pay almost five-and-a-half-million dollars to cover federal costs for fighting the blaze.

KNX 1070’s Jack Salvatore Reports

Ventura-based Berry Engineering General Contractors, Inc. agreed to pay $5 million and subcontractor Mendez Concrete, Inc. of Santa Paula agreed to pay more than $447,000 to cover costs incurred by the U.S. Forest Service.

Federal prosecutors say the companies were installing a corrugated steel culvert pipe located near dry brush, when sparks from a cutting tool ignited the fire and burned more than 63,000 acres.

Neither company admitted wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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