SDG&E blamed for wildfires in legal action
Placing the blame.
Editor's Note: Attorneys have
Blame for two of last month's wildfires is being placed on San Diego Gas and Electric. According to attorneys, the complaint was filed on behalf of all persons damaged by the fires, and alleges gross negligence on the part of the utility.
Attorney Todd Macaluso says the utility should have cleared trees around power lines. They failed to do so and he charges that the winds blew trees and brush into the lines, starting both the Rice and the Witch fire.
"Witnesses saw these sparks start the Witch fire," claims the attorney.
SDG&E issued a written response:
"We believe that at the time of the fires, our power lines were in compliance with all laws. The extreme conditions -- hurricane-force winds -- created a huge hazard for all of us, including our electric system. No electric system can be completely protected from such severe weather."
Michael Shames of the consumer watchdog group UCAN says the utility is potentially liable if it does not maintain its lines and its infrastructure.
"Of course, if they are liable, the odds are they will pass on the costs of the liability to their customers who in many cases were burned out," adds Shames.