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Southern California Edison says its lines likely ‘associated’ with Woolsey fire

2018 Woolsey fire
Firefighters monitor a house fully engulfed in Thousand Oaks during the 2018 Woolsey fire.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Southern California Edison said its electrical equipment will probably be found to be “associated” with 2018’s deadly Woolsey fire, which burned more than 1,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The revelation comes as the Edison is already facing the possibility of major liability for another huge fire in 2017 that burned in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and was followed by deadly mudslides in Montecito.

In its quarterly earnings report, the utility giant said the various fire and mudslide events could result in a liability of $4.7 billion.

The Woosley fire was Los Angeles County’s most destructive fire, and Edison on Tuesday revealed new information about the role its utility lines may have played in the blaze.

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“While SCE did not find evidence of downed electrical wires on the ground in the suspected area of origin, it observed a pole support wire in proximity to an electrical wire that was energized prior to the outage. Whether the Nov. 8, 2018, outage was related to contact being made between the support wire and the electrical wire has not been determined. SCE believes that its equipment could be found to have been associated with the ignition of the Woolsey fire.”

Edison lines have long been under suspicion for starting the fire, though a final investigation by authorities has not been completed.

The Woolsey fire consumed more than 96,000 acres, destroying 1,600 structures and killing three people last November.


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