Judge rules SCE must provide access to potential Thomas Fire evidence

Posted at 2:02 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 16:02:39-05

A judge on Tuesday ruled that Southern California Edison (SCE) must provide access to equipment removed from Anlauf Canyon to the attorneys of those accusing the utility company of starting the Thomas Fire.

SCE is facing several lawsuits that claim the company’s equipment sparked the Thomas Fire in Ventura County on Dec. 4. The fire burned nearly 282,000 acres and destroyed 1,063 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. 

SCE has already removed poles and equipment from the Anlauf Canyon area where the lawsuits claim the fire started. A judge previously ordered the utility company to preserve those items.

SCE spokesman Steve Conroy released the following statement to KSBY following the judge’s ruling on Tuesday:
"As the Court has repeatedly recognized, SCE has taken appropriate proactive measures to preserve materials it has removed from the Anlauf Canyon area during the course of restoring service to customers, and under the court’s current order, SCE may continue these activities.  SCE has preserved, and will continue to preserve, these materials and will make them available for ‘visual inspection’ consistent with the court’s order. 
The origin and cause of the Thomas Fire continue to be under investigation and no report has yet been issued. Even prior to the plaintiff’s motion, SCE had been preserving materials removed from Anlauf Canyon out of an abundance of caution, and SCE has conducted, and will continue to conduct, its work in a safe, prudent and appropriate manner."

Related coverage:
Class-action lawsuit accuses SoCal Edison of starting Thomas Fire
Lawsuit filed on behalf of Montecito mudslide victims
Thomas Fire victims accuse utility of removing potential evidence
Restraining order issued against SCE in Thomas Fire lawsuit