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No Criminal Charges To Be Pressed Against Southern California Edison For Causing The 2018 Woolsey Fire
By Lonce Lamonte - August 16, 2021

Southern California Edison (SCE) will not face criminal charges for its involvement in the 2018 Woolsey fire. 

Justice officials from the California Department of Justice said last Friday the 13th that to press criminal charges against SCE, prosecutors would have to prove the company’s equipment caused the fire.  They would have to prove there was awareness from SCE and that its actions “presented a substantial and unjustifiable risk of causing a fire and that it ignored this risk.” 

An investigation by fire officials showed high winds blew a loose wire owned by SCE that made contact with conductors.  The fire was sparked.  Three people were killed. 100,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties were burned. 

The California Department of Justice said last Friday the 13th, that based on an expansive investigation into the cause of the Woolsey fire by the state attorney general’s office, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the Ventura County Fire Department, that there was insufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that CFE unlawfully caused a fire or committed any other felony violation of California law. 

SCE, however, had previously admitted that its equipment was “likely associated” with the fire.

Power companies have faced scrutiny for igniting catastrophic wildfires throughout California.  SCE has faced lawsuits from insurance companies and victims’ families. 

In January 2021, SCE said it would pay $2.2 billion to settle insurance claims from the Woolsey fire.  The year before the Woolsey fire, it was determined a SCE power line sparked the Thomas fire.  That fire killed two people and later resulted in deadly mudslides that caused 21 more deaths. 

 

Lonce Lamonte, journalist; lonce@adjustercom.com; copyright by Lonce Lamonte and adjustercom; all rights reserved.  

 
 

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