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Contractors settle with San Diego utility over 2007 wildfires

December 4, 2012 |  2:52 pm

Witch
An electrical contractor and a tree-trimming company have agreed to pay a total of $380 million to San Diego Gas & Electric to settle legal action over damages from the wildfires that swept through San Diego County in 2007.

The two firms, PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. and Dave Tree Expert Co., do contracting work for the utility. In its lawsuits, the utility asserted that PAR Electrical made modifications to a utility pole, and Davey was responsible for tree pruning services.

Homeowners whose property was burned by the fires have alleged that the fires were caused by sparks from downed lines hitting overgrown vegetation.

The two payments will enable SDG&E to pay out settlements that exceed the utility's insurance coverage.

In the fires that swept through the county in October 2007, more than 1,500 homes were destroyed and 200,000 acres burned.

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: One of the homes destroyed by the Witch Creek Fire, one of the 2007 blazes that struck San Diego County. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

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