Power lines cause of Moorpark blaze

Times Staff Writer

The 13,600-acre Ventura County fire that destroyed five homes earlier this week was caused by downed power lines, but a number of questions remain, investigators said Thursday.

Southern California Edison is investigating the source of the fire that erupted early Sunday near Moorpark, said spokesman Steven Conroy.

In addition to Edison equipment, however, privately owned power lines were in the area of the fire's origin, and so it is unclear which was the source, he said.

It is also unknown whether high winds downed the lines, Conroy said.

Meanwhile, the fire was expected to be fully controlled by this evening, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Barry Parker. Firefighters summoned from around the state have been relieved, but 150 county firefighters remain to ensure that the blaze is extinguished, he said.

At its peak, about 1,700 firefighters battled the Shekell fire at a cost of at least $5.3 million, Parker said. Fanned by 70 mph Santa Ana winds, the blaze destroyed five homes and two commercial properties. Also, five other homes and several out buildings, such as sheds, were damaged.

The fire began about 2:30 a.m. Sunday along Shekell Road near the old Egg City poultry complex north of town and quickly spread. About 7 a.m. a second fire broke out nearby at Happy Camp Canyon Road and Broadway.

The late-season brush fire came three years after the Simi fire scorched more than 108,200 acres in Moorpark and Simi Valley over eight days.


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