Los Angeles County man files lawsuit against SoCal Edison, claims utility started Woolsey Fire

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018
The rubble of a home destroyed in the Woolsey Fire is shown in a file photo.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles County man filed a lawsuit against SoCal Edison, claiming the utility's negligence caused the devastating Woolsey Fire.

Michael Henthorn, the plaintiff, owns two properties in Malibu and both were destroyed in the blaze. According to the lawsuit, the fire destroyed his 20-acre ranch, a rental home and barn, as well as his primary home for the last 30 years.

In addition to his properties, Henthorn lost vehicles and pets in the fire.

The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday, claims that SoCal Edison's negligence caused the massive blaze.

Court documents stated that the fire was started by "SCE's negligence in (a) failing to maintain its overhead electrical facilities in a safe manner; (b) failing to perform vegetation management in accordance with applicable regulations and/or (c) failing to shut down the Big Rock 16vK circuit to prevent a catastrophic wildfire during the Red Flag weather conditions that preceded the Woolsey Fire."

In October, Edison admitted its equipment may have caused the Thomas Fire that ripped through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties last year.

The lawsuit also cited several instances where SoCal Edison equipment may have caused fires or damages.

Henthorn and his attorneys are requesting a trial.

The Woolsey Fire, which ignited on Nov. 8, has charred more than 96,000 acres, destroyed 1,500 structures and damaged 341 others.

Fire officials expect to fully contain the fire by Thursday.