Los Angeles County sues SCE over Woolsey Fire

Los Angeles County announced on Thursday they are suing Southern California Edison to recover costs and damages from the Woolsey Fire in November.

The fire started Nov. 8 and consumed more than 96,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,600 buildings and damaged another 360 structures.

Los Angeles County is joined in the suit by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and the Consolidated Fire Protection District for Los Angeles County.

"This legal action is an important and essential step toward accountability and recovery," said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes most of the Woolsey fire burn area.

An SCE representative did not immediately return a call for comment.

Los Angeles County incurred more than $100 million in costs and damages from the Woolsey Fire including fire suppression, emergency response and recovery efforts, as well as infrastructure damages and injury to natural resources, the suit alleges. There also was a loss of tax revenue, the Los

Angeles Superior Court suit states.

More than a dozen county departments and thousands of county employees were involved in responding to the Woolsey Fire and ongoing recovery efforts, the suit states.

While the cause of the Woolsey Fire is currently under investigation by CalFIRE, SCE has stated in its February 2019 federal Form 10-K investor filing that "it believes that its equipment could be found to have been associated with the ignition of the fire," the suit states.

Two minutes before the fire started, SCE noted a disturbance on its equipment near where the fire began and reported it to the Public Utilities Commission, the suit states.

SCE has acknowledged finding a pole support wire on the ground near an electrical wire that was energized prior to the outage, the suit states.

The wire may have come into contact with the jumper causing sparks which could have ignited the fire, the suit states.

CNS contributed to this story.