Powerline investigated as possible source of Saddle Ridge Fire

Map Saddle Ridge Fire 3-D

Above: 3-D map of the Saddle Ridge Fire at 12:27 a.m. PDT October 13, 2019.

Fire investigators are looking at a power line as a possible ignition point for the Saddle Ridge Fire that burned 7,965 acres and 21 structures on the north side of Los Angeles. (see map above) At least two residents of Sylmar said they first saw the fire at the base of a transmission tower. Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said Friday night that he was aware of those reports, and, “We believe that witness, and someone else who said something similar.” The Southern California Edison power line had not been shut off during the Santa Ana wind event.

All of the evacuation orders have been lifted that earlier affected about 100,000 residents.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Saddle Ridge Fire, click here.)

The strong north to northeast Santa Ana wind event that caused the fire to spread seven miles, from Sylmar to Granda Hills and almost to Chatsworth, has come to a close. The area is now experiencing typical on shore flows, bringing higher humidity and lower temperatures.

One person died during the fire. Authorities said Aiman Elsabbagh, 54, suffered a heart attack while trying to protect his home with a garden hose and passed away later in a hospital.

Map Saddle Ridge Fire
Map of the Saddle Ridge Fire at 12:27 a.m. PDT October 13, 2019.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

6 thoughts on “Powerline investigated as possible source of Saddle Ridge Fire”

  1. L.A. City Fire Department Arson Unit is one of the best in the nation, I would take anything they came up with seriously. R-5 has always had some of the best Forest and Regional Special Agents in the nation. Point being if anyone can come up with something that will hold up in court it will be these people. After working over 20 years in So-Cal R-5 Angeles NF. and investigating wildland fires for years, I can tell you for sure So-Cal Edison will put up one hell of a fight and spare no expense to blame the fire on anything other then the power system. GOOD LUCK AND GOOD HUNTING GUYS.

    1. Dave don’t let the unit name get in the way it’s just that LA City Fire Dept. Arson Unit has the professional people to do the job of determining a “FIRE Cause”. I guess it would have been better to use the term “Cause” with all the new political correctness out they.

      1. Until further information is received and investigated, I reserve the feeling that this could be anything, including arson. I have full faith in any fire investigatory unit, State or Federal.

        “ …At least two residents of Sylmar said they first saw the fire at the base of a transmission tower.“

        This statement didn’t give me any confidence that a utility is at fault, actually quite the opposite because of some individuals feelings about CA, and fires therein.

  2. Wow!! sure glad the Electric company turned off power to prevent wildfires…NOT!!!! As I have said this is a flexing of their power to show the power that they have over us!! I am sure after, in my opinion, after holding us hostage with threats of power shut offs, they will be attempting to get an increase in rates!! This is boarder line an act of terrorism, in my opinion.

    1. Rate increases are in fact under request from SCE to the PUC in application #A.19-08-013 Residential rates increase from .18/KWH to .21/KWH for “Reducing the risk of wildfires to keep the electric grid safe for the publican for SCE workers” Source: Notice included in October Billings.

      Aside from the above being the fundamental basic responsibility of the utility to charge its basic delivery charges we already pay, this is as insulting as another tax increase to manage incompetent government agency’s

      It will be fascinating to see how this one works out as the source location while described as base of transmission tower leaves out extremely key facts that at this location behind 15979 Saddleridge road in Sylmar.
      One can only guess why the 33,000 Volt transmission lines stretched tight over a 90 degree undercrossing of low voltage 5,000volt distribution on wood poles might have come in contact during high wind gusts and variable deflections of towers and poles plus the fact that the transmission line changes direction at the westerly tower placing more stress on the lines/tower.

      Perhaps in lieu of loosing vast amounts of revenue from power shutdowns the utility should do more to eliminate potential ignition points like this and keep the power on for its paying customers.

      With advent of solar, the utility is finally in a place where we the people have a choice to buy power from them or generate our own. Perfection in capitialism.

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