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Southern California Edison's equipment is under investigation as a possible cause of Creek fire.

Witnesses saw snapped, sparking power line at start of destructive L.A. wildfire

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that California fire officials have notified the utility company that their equipment is being investigated as source of the Creek fire.

The current fires raging in Southern California are now measured as the 4th largest fire in California history. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the devastation and over 1,000 structures have been destroyed and it may turn out that their local utility provider may be responsible for one of these fires.

In the LA Times Report, it reports "The owner of a small ranch on Little Tujunga Canyon Road said she was awakened early Dec. 5 by a panicked call from her mother, who said sparks were coming off the steel pylon as a line came loose and "was smacking the hill." Looking outside, Gail Thackray said, she saw much the same scene: "There was fire concentrated over there and sparks coming off the pylon…. It spread each direction." She raced out of their ranch with her mother and daughter, driving out through fire. Thackray's account, made to a Times reporter last week, corresponds with the general time and location of the reported start of the Creek fire, which to date has burned more than 15,600 acres in the San Fernando Valley and nearby foothills."

"There was fire concentrated over there and sparks coming off the pylon…. It spread each direction."

Gail Thackray is distraught over loss of her home and two horses when Creek fire swept through Indian Springs Ranch along Little Tujunga. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Rules May Be Changing

California utilities may face tougher safety rules for power lines, phone lines and utility poles in parts of the state most prone to wildfires.

Under the proposed rules being considered Thursday by the California Public Utilities Commission, tree branches would have to be kept farther away from power lines, newly installed lines would have to be spaced farther apart and utility companies would have to fix many safety problems in areas of high fire risk before making repairs in lower-risk zones. Those repairs would have to follow a set timetable, taking no longer than six months in extreme fire-risk zones.

The rules would change utility company operations across wide areas of the state deemed to have a higher risk for wildfires.

The agency first began considering the issue after a devastating series of Southern California wildfires in 2007, which were tied to swaying and arcing power lines, some of which even fell down during heavy winds.

Though the cause of several fires that together killed 44 people in Northern California wine country this fall has not been determined, investigators are looking into whether power lines toppled by high winds may have played a role.

Utility companies have been consulting with the PUC on the development of the rules being considered Thursday.

BelAir (Skirball Fire) started at homeless encampment

Of all of the recent Southland fires, fire officials have determined a firm cause of only one at this time. The Los Angeles Fire Department said a cooking fire in a homeless encampment sparked the Skirball fire in Bel-Air.

Investigators find camping stove in brush area near freeway underpass that caused fire which charred more than 400 acres.

Map of active fires as of 12/14/17.

About Becker Law Group (BLG)

BLG is a legal firm dedicated to helping victims get the help they need when affected by tragic circumstances, including wrongful death, personal and property loss and crime victims. For the latest information of the investigation of the cause of the Southland fires, please contact Todd Becker at 562 708-1111.

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