US: Southern California Edison power lines sparked deadly Thomas fire, investigators find - PressFrom - US
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USSouthern California Edison power lines sparked deadly Thomas fire, investigators find

00:30  14 march  2019
00:30  14 march  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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Southern California Edison said Tuesday that witnesses saw a fire igniting near one of the company's power poles in Santa Paula and it believes its Thomas Fire scorches southern California 01:03. SCE said it will not be able to analyze what happened at the ignition points until it can take a look at

Southern California Edison said Tuesday its equipment likely sparked one of two ignition points for the Power utility says its equipment "associated" in sparking deadly Southern California fire . According to Edison , witnesses reported a fire ignited along Koenigstein Road near an SCE power

Southern California Edison power lines sparked deadly Thomas fire, investigators find© Mike Eliason / Associated Press

Investigators have determined that Southern California Edison power lines ignited the 2017 Thomas fire, a massive blaze in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties that killed two people and later gave rise to a massive mud flow that resulted in at least 20 deaths.

Following a 13-month probe by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Ventura County Fire Department investigators, officials found the fire was started by two power lines that slapped together during high winds on the evening of Dec. 4, 2017.

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The Southern California Edison utility company says its electrical equipment is at least partly to blame for starting the deadly Thomas Fire last year that engulfed hundreds of thousands of acres as it swept through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Witnesses say that the fire ignited in the vicinity of an

“A high wind event caused the power lines to come into contact with each other, creating an electrical arc,” the Ventura County Fire Department said in a press statement Wednesday. “The electrical arc deposited hot, burning or molten material onto the ground, in a receptive fuel bed, causing the fire. The common term for this situation is called ‘line slap,’ and the power line in question is owned by Southern California Edison.”

In October, the utility said its electrical equipment likely sparked at least one starting point in the massive fire, which burned 281,893 acres. The loss of vegetation in that area ultimately resulted in the collapse of hillsides north of Montecito during heavy rains on Jan. 9, 2018.

The finding puts the utility on the hook for not only more than $1.3 billion in insurance claims filed by Thomas fire victims, but also for the $400 million in claims filed after the Montecito slides.

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Southern California Edison also submitted a preliminary report to state regulators regarding the Woolsey Fire in Ventura County, citing an incident near its Chatsworth Substation minutes before the blaze was reported. Earlier this year, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal

Southern California Edison on Tuesday said its electrical equipment likely sparked at least one starting point in the massive Thomas fire that ravaged Ventura and Santa Barbara counties late last year. The utility said in a statement that witnesses reported a fire igniting along Koenigstein Road in

Although Southern California Edison had acknowledged its equipment likely started a fire off Koenigstein Road in Santa Paula, its investigators concluded that the company was probably not responsible for a second, larger blaze that began in Anlauf Canyon earlier in the evening.

In the report released Wednesday, investigators said the Thomas fire first began as two separate fires that joined together and burned for 40 days. They determined the utility was responsible for both ignitions.

“We understand the ramifications around releasing information and making statements in this official report. … It was very thorough,” said Ventura County Fire Capt. Stan Ziegler.

Southern California Edison officials have said they will work with insurance companies to handle the thousands of claims that have accumulated since the fire and mudslide. The company is protected from going bankrupt over the disasters, thanks to a law signed during the summer that passes excess liability costs on to utility customers.

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For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.

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