Southern California Edison says investigators found damaged power lines near Fairview Fire burn area

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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Damaged power lines found near Fairview Fire burn area, SCE says
There is still no official cause of the deadly Fairview Fire that burned in Hemet last month, but damaged power lines are now coming into question.

HEMET, Calif. (KABC) -- Though an official cause has not yet been released, new details surrounding the deadly Fairview Fire that erupted southeast of Hemet last month focus on power lines in the area.

The fire, which first broke out on Sept. 5, burned more than 28,000 acres, causing two deaths and destroying dozens of structures.

In a letter issued to the California Public Utilities Commission Monday, Southern California Edison said some of its power lines were found damaged in the burn area.

The letter stated Cal Fire investigators focused on two areas of interest, one of which was near a pole line associated with overhead utility facilities owned by SCE and Frontier Communications. They also investigated a separate area about 500 feet west of the pole line.

Some of that equipment was removed as part of their investigation. SCE had previously reported "circuit activity'' in the area close to the time the fire erupted.

" ... During the removal of materials, an SCE conductor and Frontier messenger exhibited what appeared to be signs of marks or damage," read the letter. "However, it is not known when this condition occurred or if these materials were impacted by the circuit activity that occurred on September 5, 2022, or whether they contributed to the ignition of the Fairview Fire."

SCE said while the damage to its facilities has not yet been tabulated, officials have identified 26 poles that required replacement.

Meanwhile, an attorney representing fire victims said the new report indicates electrical equipment came in contact with each other, and may have produced sparks that ignited the fire.

The fire remains under investigation.