Lawsuit Alleges DWP Caused Last Year’s Powerhouse Fire

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Scores of people who suffered damage when the Powerhouse Fire scorched stretches of northern Los Angeles County are suing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, alleging the utility started the massive blaze and failed to properly maintain power lines and equipment.

A helicopter drops fire retardant on a ridge near Lake Hughes where the Powerhouse Fire burned last summer. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

The fire destroyed dozens of homes and burned more than 30,000 acres over the course of several days last year. U.S. Forest Service officials have estimated the cost of battling the blaze at more than $16 million.

The fire began at or near a DWP hydroelectric power plant near Santa Clarita, according to the lawsuit. Plaintiffs in the case said they experienced personal injury, property damage, loss of cherished possessions, evacuation expenses and various forms of emotional distress, among other claims.

“I’d be shocked if the dollar damages were less than $10 million and I think it’s going to be significantly more than that,” said Gerald Singleton, one of the lawyers representing more than 100 plaintiffs in the case.

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