Cost of Causing Firestorm: $17M

Companies settle San Diego wildfire case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    SDG&E and Cox Communications have agreed to pay $17 million to settle claims by state investigators that poor maintenance led to three huge wildfires in 2007.

    The settlement comes more than a year after investigators with the Public Utilities Commission concluded that power lines caused the Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon fires, which destroyed 1,300 homes and killed two people.

    Officials found the Guejito Fire was caused by a Cox Communications lashing wire touching an SDG&E conductor. Cox has agreed to pay $2 million to the general fund, without admitting it caused the fire.

    The companies did not admit fault for setting the fires, but said they would take steps to better maintain their lines and equipment.

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    Some victims are still fighting with their insurance companies, to get the money they need to rebuild. Others have moved away, to other cities or states. One Rancho Bernardo family had a different strategy, for coping with their loss. (Published Thursday, Oct 22, 2009)