Lawsuit claims negligence by utility in wildfire
About 100 plaintiffs, ranging from homeowners to a camp for disabled children, filed the lawsuit last month alleging negligence, dangerous condition of public property and other grounds, the Daily News reported Wednesday.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The Powerhouse Fire burned 53 structures, including two dozen homes, and more than 30,000 acres near Santa Clarita and in Angeles National Forest. It began May 30 near a hydroelectric power plant and burned for about 10 days.
Attorney Gerald Singleton, who is representing the plaintiffs, said an investigation by his group into the cause of the fire focused on power lines.
"You weed out every cause besides the power lines," Singleton told the newspaper. "It doesn't look like there are any other ignition sources."
Results of a U.S. Forest Service probe have not been released. The utility, in a statement, said it is also conducting an investigation.
"LADWP has furnished the investigators with all information requested," the statement reads. "LADWP does not believe that equipment age was a factor in the cause of the fire."
The fire started near the site of Powerhouse 1, the original hydroelectric power plant for the city of Los Angeles. It forced the evacuation of 3,000 residents from the foothill hamlets of Lake Hughes and Lake Elizabeth to desert communities in Lancaster.
Nearly 2,200 firefighters converged from across the West to fight the blaze driven by high winds, triple-digit temperatures and unseasonably dry brush not burned for nearly a century.
Once the DWP is officially served with the complaint, it will have 30 days to respond.