U.S. Government Sues LADWP, Says Utility’s Equipment Caused 2017 Creek Fire
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power equipment was responsible for one of several fires that broke out in Southern California in late 2017 and destroyed dozens of homes, according to a federal lawsuit.
In the complaint, filed Tuesday against the LADWP, the federal government alleges the utility failed to clear brush beneath its equipment off Little Tujunga Canyon Road in the hills above Lake View Terrace in the Angeles National Forest before a fire began on Dec. 5, 2017.
The Creek fire began about 4 a.m. and, driven by powerful Santa Ana winds, destroyed 60 homes and scorched 15,000 acres, including about 7,700 acres on federal lands. The government is seeking more than $40 million from the public utility for firefighting and forest restoration costs.
“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 … known as the ‘Red Tower,’” the lawsuit says. “DWP and its employees also failed to properly clear brush in the area of the origin of the fire.”
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