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Station Fire response damaged golf course, lawsuit alleges

May 8, 2012 | 12:18 pm

Station Fire responseAdd another item to the list of damages from the huge 2009 Station fire: the pumps for the golf course lakes at the La Canada Flintridge Country Club.

In a lawsuit filed Monday against the federal government, the club says the pilots of firefighting helicopters should have used more care when they drew from the lakes that provided water for the course's irrigation system.

The helicopters sucked so much water that the pumps sucked sludge from the lake bottoms and their motors burned out, according to the U.S. District Court suit. Wind drafts from the hovering choppers also blew sand out of the course bunkers and broke tree stakes. The repair bill, plus the cost of water to refill the lakes, amounted to $49,528.81.

The club filed a claim for the damages, which the U.S. Forest Service denied last November, prompting the legal action.

[Updated at 12:50 p.m.: "We’re hoping they'll just pay the claim," said attorney Burton Mark Senkfor, who is representing the club. The Forest Service said it does not comment on pending litigation.]

The Station fire, which erupted a couple of miles from the club, was the largest wildfire in Los Angeles County history. It scorched more that 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest, destroyed more than 200 buildings and caused the death of two county firefighters.

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-- Bettina Boxall

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