LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles and the Department of Water and Power is defending itself against a federal lawsuit that accuses the utility of contributing to the massive 2017 Creek Fire, according to a report published today.
“Investigators determined that the Creek Fire ignited when DWP power equipment malfunctioned and ignited dry vegetation on the Forest floor in the area of DWP transmission tower …” the lawsuit says, according to the Los Angeles Times. “DWP and its employees also failed to properly clear brush in the area of the origin of the fire.”
The DWP has insisted its equipment played no role in the start of the Creek Fire, which erupted near Sylmar in December 2017. The fire ultimately scorched more than 15,600 acres while destroying 61 homes and 63 outbuildings, and damaging another 55 homes and 26 outbuildings.
“We have painstakingly reviewed all aspects of our infrastructure and damage to it by the fire and have found no indication that our equipment caused or contributed to the ignition of the fire,” the DWP said Wednesday, according to the newspaper. “Despite the allegations in the lawsuit, we have not been provided with any information or evidence indicating that LADWP was the source of the fire.”
Last year, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of victims of the fire against the city of Los Angeles and the DWP, alleging that negligently installed and maintained electrical equipment and power lines were responsible for the blaze.
“LADWP’s investigation has concluded that LADWP’s equipment did not cause or contribute to the fire ignition,” the utility said in November 2018.
“Any allegations to the contrary are simply inaccurate. It should also be noted that neither CalFire or the U.S. Forest Service has determined the cause of the Creek Fire or identified LADWP as a possible ignition source. Contrary to some media reports, LADWP had no `downed lines’ or lines that needed repair.”