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Thomas Fire sparked by Southern California Edison equipment, company says

Southern California Edison publicly announced that the company believes its electrical equipment is to blame for the start of the Thomas Fire on one of at least two origin points — near Koenigstein Road in Santa Paula.

The company said in a news release on Tuesday that CAL FIRE removed equipment located in the area of Koenigstein Road and SCE has been unable to inspect it. The news release states:

“Southern California Edison remains committed to our customers and the communities affected by the 2017 Thomas Fire and wants to ensure that they and other important stakeholders are aware of updated information concerning the Thomas Fire. This information was included in SCE’s Form 10-Q filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”

“As noted in that filing, SCE believes its electrical equipment was associated with an ignition near Koenigstein Road in Santa Paula — one of at least two origin points for the Thomas Fire. The company also continues to cooperate with the investigations being conducted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) and the California Public Utilities Commission’s Safety & Enforcement Division (SED) and will thoroughly review any findings and the associated evidence when they are made available.”

“Based on currently available information, SCE believes that there are at least two separate points where the Thomas Fire started, one in the Anlauf Canyon area of Ventura County and another near Koenigstein Road in the city of Santa Paula. Witnesses have reported that a fire ignited along Koenigstein Road near an SCE power pole, and SCE believes that its equipment was associated with this ignition.”

“SCE is continuing to analyze the progression of the fire from the Koenigstein Road ignition point and the extent of damages that may be attributable to that ignition. SCE has not determined whether the Anlauf Canyon area ignition involved SCE equipment.”

“CAL FIRE has removed equipment located in the general vicinity of Koenigstein Road, and SCE has not been able to inspect it. SCE will not be able to determine the specific cause of the Koenigstein Road ignition until it can analyze the equipment currently in CAL FIRE’s possession. CAL FIRE has also removed SCE equipment located in the Anlauf Canyon area, which SCE has likewise not been able to inspect.”

“SCE cannot predict when the ongoing joint investigation by CAL FIRE and VCFD or the investigation being conducted by SED will be completed.”

“As it does in all wildfire matters in which its equipment or infrastructure may or are alleged to be involved, SCE is conducting its own review of the facts and circumstances of the Thomas Fire.”

“SCE’s ongoing internal review of the Thomas Fire is complex and examines various matters including possible ignition points, the location of those ignition points, the fire progression from each ignition point and the attribution of damages to fires with separate ignition points.”

To read the full press release, click here.

The Thomas Fire ignited on Dec. 4, 2017, and scorched approximately 281,893 acres as it spread from Ventura to Santa Barbara counties until it was declared out by fire officials on Jan. 12, 2018.

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