Los Angeles

Lawsuit filed by homeowners holds SoCal Edison responsible for sparking Coastal Fire

Homeowners have filed a lawsuit Wednesday against SoCal Edison, just a week after the devastating Coastal Fire destroyed 20 homes in Laguna Niguel.

The Coronado Pointe Homeowners Association blames the utility company’s equipment for sparking the fire, which raged through a Laguna Niguel neighborhood, destroying 20 homes, and damaging 11 others. The homeowners association’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

No official cause of the fire has been announced, but the lawsuit seizes on SoCal Edison’s disclosure to the California Public Utilities Commission that their equipment in the area had experienced “circuit activity” at the time of the fire. The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court, contends the fire “was the result of (Edison’s) refusal to implement sufficient vegetation management programs, repair and update electrical hardware and adopt modern wildfire prevention practices as required by state laws, state regulations, federal laws, federal regulations and well-established industry standards.”

“Based on our investigation to date and discussions with our consultants, we are informed and strongly believe that the failure of the utility’s equipment was responsible for the tragic loss of the victims’ homes and their displacement,” attorney Richard Bridgford said in a statement.

The Coastal Fire broke out on May 11, and was quickly whipped uphill into a neighborhood of multimillion-dollar homes with ocean views. At one point, 900 homes were evacuated. No civilian injuries were reported, but two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The fire was declared fully contained on Tuesday.

A SoCal Edison spokesman said it would be inappropriate to discuss any possible litigation.

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