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Fire at Thousand Oaks shopping center sends two to hospital

June 25, 2011 |  3:36 pm

Two employees of a Thousand Oaks shopping center were taken to a hospital Saturday after inhaling smoke from a fire that broke out at a women’s clothing store, authorities said.

The blaze started at Cache, a boutique selling evening wear, about 12:05 p.m. on the first floor of the Oaks Mall, in the 350 block of West Hillcrest Drive, a Ventura County Fire dispatcher said.

In-store sprinklers contained the fire until more than three dozen firefighters arrived, Ventura County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Milkovich said. The flames were knocked out about 1:15 p.m.

“The sprinkler system didn’t put the fire out, but there was no additional spread of the fire. Our personnel had to go in through the smoke and dig out and find the seed of the fire,” Milkovich said.

Patrons of Cache, nearby shops and kiosks were evacuated, and the area was roped off, said an employee of a nearby store inside the mall.

The cause of the fire was an electrical malfunction above an employee bathroom in the back of the store, Milkovich said. The extent of fire and water damage to Cache’s inventory and that of the surrounding stores was unknown, but Milkovich estimated the structure damage was relatively minor and below $10,000.

Both victims, who were believed to be with mall security, were taken to Los Robles Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, Milkovich said.

The  mall remained open throughout the incident.

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-- Corina Knoll

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