[LA FEATURE]California Wildfires


Coverage of brush fires across the state

Lawsuit Filed Against LADWP in Powerhouse Fire

By Jason Kandel
|  Thursday, Apr 24, 2014  |  Updated 5:54 AM PDT
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More than 100 people are suing the city of Los Angeles' utility, claiming poorly maintained power lines caused last May’s Powerhouse Fire.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, blames Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials for failing to maintain power lines and equipment, said Gerald Singleton, the lawyer suing.

The Powerhouse Fire broke out on May 30, 2013. It consumed more than 30,000 acres and destroyed 53 structures in several small cities in northern Los Angeles County.

It also forced the closure of a facility for chronically ill children. Strong winds fanned the fire that spread to over 50 square miles.

The fire started near LADWP's historic Powerhouse 1, the site of the original hydroelectric power plant for the city of Los Angeles.

But officials haven’t determined the cause.

Officials at the LA DWP said in a statement they are cooperating with an ongoing civil investigation being conducted by the United States Forest Service.

“LADWP has furnished the investigators with all information requested,” said Joseph Ramallo, a DWP spokesman, in the statement. “LADWP does not believe that equipment age was a factor in the cause of the fire.”

Singleton represented more than 1,600 people in a lawsuit against San Diego Gas & Electric, claiming the utility was responsible for starting three fires that destroyed over 300,000 acres in San Diego County in 2007.

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