Fire department: Los Angeles blaze began beneath power lines




  • In US
  • 2019-10-14 23:56:13Z
  • By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A destructive fire that broke out on the edge of Los Angeles began beneath a high-voltage transmission tower owned by Southern California Edison, fire officials said Monday.

Los Angeles Fire Department arson investigators determined the origin of the Saddle Ridge Fire was beneath power lines on a dry, steep hillside above the city's Sylmar neighborhood, Capt. Erik Scott told The Associated Press. The cause has not yet been determined.

The fire burned more than 12 square miles (31 square kilometers) and destroyed 17 structures and damaged dozens more. Officials say one man died of a heart attack in the fire that began in Sylmar and spread to Porter Ranch.

The fire department had said Friday that they believed the fire started at that location.

SoCal Edison has not commented on the fire's source but says it reported to state regulators that its system was affected. The utility filed a report Friday to the California Public Utilities Commission that said "our system was impacted" near the reported location and time of the fire, spokeswoman Susan Cox said.

The report was filed "out of an abundance of caution," Cox said. She did not have additional details such as the kind of system, how it was affected or what the effects were.

Terrie Prosper, a spokeswoman for the commission, said the report is confidential and not publicly available.

Electric utilities must file reports in four instances: when there is a fatality or injury that involves electric facilities, when there is damage to property over $50,000, when there is significant media coverage, and when there is a major outage to at least 10% of the service territory at once, Prosper said.

SoCal Edison is still trying to determine if Saddle Ridge Road in Sylmar, where the fire started, would have been subjected to a planned power shut-off to prevent sparking a wildfire, spokeswoman Mary Ann Milbourn said.

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