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Southern California Edison says its equipment helped spark Thomas Fire

Posted: 4:35 AM, Oct 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-31 11:35:37Z

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Southern California Edison says its equipment likely sparked one of two ignition points for the massive wildfire that tore through California's central coast last year.

The utility said Tuesday witnesses reported flames near the company's power poles in Ventura County last December.

Dozens of lawsuits allege Edison equipment sparked the Thomas Fire, but the statement marked the first time the company made such an acknowledgment.

Edison hasn't determined if its equipment started the second ignition point.

A state investigation will determine the fire's official cause.

The Thomas Fire was the second-largest in California history, scorching 440 square miles (1,140 sq. kilometers) and destroying 1,000 buildings. Two people died.

A month later, rains fell on hills left bare by the fire, unleashing mudslides that killed 21 and left two missing.