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Southern California Edison sued over damaging wildfire

California Wildfires
Posted at 10:39 AM, Feb 12, 2023

HEMET, Calif. (AP) — A city claims in a lawsuit that Southern California Edison equipment ignited a damaging wildfire last fall.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the city of Hemet claims that the utility did not manage its electrical power lines and failed to keep the landscape trimmed, Southern California News Group reported Friday.

The city lost property and suffered damages, the lawsuit claims.

“Our thoughts remain with the people affected by the Fairview fire,” SoCal Edison spokesperson Reggie Kumar told the news group. “We are reviewing this action and will respond to it through the proper legal channels.”

The Fairview Fire erupted Sept. 5 near Hemet, a city of about 90,000 in Riverside County east of Los Angeles.

The fire scorched more than 44 square miles (114 square kilometers) and destroyed or damaged nearly three dozen homes and other structures. Two residents were killed as they tried to flee and a third was injured. Two firefighters also were injured.

After the fire, SoCal Edison told state utility regulators that “circuit activity” was reported near where the fire was first reported and that some power poles had signs of damage but that it was not known if that contributed to the ignition of the fire.