A wildfire can take a serious toll on you, your family, and your business
On November 8, 2018, the same day as the devastating Camp Fire up north, a fire started in a remote part of Los Angeles County. It took 13 days for it to be contained. By then, it had become the worst wildfire in LA county’s modern history. Three people died in the Woolsey Fire. It caused the evacuation of nearly 300,000 people. The fire scorched 96,949 acres of land and burned 1,643 structures. Lawsuits are now underway to compensate victims of the Woolsey Fire for wrongful death, personal injuries, property loss, business loss, and other legal damages.
Woolsey Fire Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one were affected by the Woolsey Fire, contact an experienced attorney at Singleton Schreiber to learn about the Woolsey Fire compensation and to understand your legal options.
Woolsey Fire Lawsuit Against Southern California Edison (SCE)
Early evidence points to a failure of Southern California Edison (SCE) equipment when power lines arced, igniting tinder-dry grasses. The fire began in Woolsey Canyon in the Santa Susana Mountains near Simi Valley. Santa Ana winds that are common in the region at that time of year pushed the fire south and whipped up a fire that was nearly unstoppable. Lawsuits in the case are based on the negligence of SCE to properly maintain equipment and to turn off power to those lines when winds and conditions exceeded acceptable levels.
The Facts of the Woolsey Fire
- The Woolsey Fire started on Santa Susana Field laboratory property on November 8, 2018 at 2:24 pm
- Two minutes earlier, SCE has reported a power outage on the Bog Rock 16kV circuit out of the Chatsworth substation
- The first firefighters arrived on scene 20 minutes later due to a lack of resources caused by the nearby Hill Fire
- The Woolsey Fire was 100% contained on November 21 at 6:11 pm
- Two people died on Mulholland Highway
- First responders couldn’t get to these burn victims due to downed power lines
- A third victim was found on November 13 in the 32000 block of Lobo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills
- LAPD announced an investigation to determine if the third victim was killed by the fire or had met with foul play
- Over 1600 homes were destroyed by the fire
- The homes of dozens of celebrities were destroyed, including Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, and Kim Basinger
- The response to the fire has been a point of dispute because of the priority decisions made for limited resources with the Camp Fire and dozens of other fires all burning at once
- 96,949 acres burned
- 1,643 homes destroyed
- Over 300,00 people were evacuated from over 165,000 homes
- 3 civilians died in the Woolsey Fire
- Two civilians and three firefighters were injured in the fire
The Woolsey Fire in Detail
Three people died in the Woolsey Fire. It caused the evacuation of nearly 300,000 people. The fire scorched 96,949 acres of land and burned 1,643 structures.
The fire began in Woolsey Canyon in the Santa Susana Mountains near Simi Valley. Santa Ana winds that are common in the region at that time of year pushed the fire south and whipped up a fire that was nearly unstoppable. It took with it many historic movie sets, ranches, and even the homes of celebrities. Homes in the posh neighborhood of Malibu were destroyed on both sides of the Pacific Coast Highway.
One factor that attracted so much attention with this fire is that some victims are among the best-known names and faces in the world. Miley Cyrus, Gerard Butler, Robin Thicke, and Shannen Dougherty were among the famous people that lost expensive homes in one of the world’s most exclusive neighborhoods.
Gerald Butler – Tweeted out a picture of his home in Malibu.
The Woolsey Fire and Southern California Edison
According to reports published in the Express, a UK newspaper, “electricity supply company, Southern California Edison told authorities an electrical circuit had an outage near where the Woolsey Fire started.”
The company didn’t indicate that this was the cause of the fire, but the fire started in that same area just two minutes later.
According to USA Today, “Edison found a disturbance at 2:22 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Big Rock circuit at the Chatsworth substation near the origin of the wildfire, which began at 2:24 p.m.”
A lawsuit filed early December in Los Angeles Superior Court by several law firms alleges that SCE was responsible due to poorly maintained equipment.
The lawsuit alleges, as similar lawsuits against several of California’s power companies do, that neglect of lines and equipment lead to a failure that sparked the Woolsey Fire.
Recovery From the Woolsey Fire
The area was declared a disaster by both the state and federal governments, freeing up resources for area residents.
Your home: Rebuilding may be a long road, but it can be done. Be sure that your property is inspected for potential mudslides. While the fire was caused by lack of rain, the rain will come and the missing brush will cause the soil to wash away very quickly. Also, have your foundation inspected. This fire burned very hot and may have cracked the foundation.
Your family: The emotional toll of this type of event can last for years. Children should be given professional counseling to keep the effects of this fire from changing their lives. Even adults can suffer from nightmares and more.
Los Angeles County has set up a webpage for people affected by the fire: https://recovery.lacounty.gov/
There are resources to help with access to state and federal funds.
Singleton Schreiber and the Woolsey Fire
Singleton Schreiber is California’s premier fire recovery law firm.
With decades of experience, the team at Singleton Schreiber has only one concern: getting our clients the resources that they need to put their lives back together. In legal terms, it’s called “being made whole.” As much as possible, the purpose is to try to return your life back to what it was before the fire struck.
While an official report is still pending, Singleton Schreiber has begun to gather evidence that Southern California Edison may have been responsible.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of damages are you entitled to pursue?
You can pursue any real damages, including wrongful death, loss of property, loss of business, personal injury, and other legal damages. Speak to an attorney from Singleton Schreiber to find out about your case.
- How much work will you need to do if you choose to pursue a case?
Very little. You’ll tell your story and supply documentation to your attorney. The attorney will handle it from there. Very few of these cases require anyone to appear in court.
- Will your attorney receive any portion of your insurance payout?
No. The attorney is only entitled to the money they work to get you. If you file suit against SCE, that will be all the attorney can get a share of. If you need an attorney to sue your insurance company, they might get a portion of that payout, but your attorney will discuss that with you.