On May 11, 2022 at approximately 2:43 p.m., a brush fire erupted near St. Tropez and Laguna Ridge Trail adjacent to the South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA) Treatment Plant in Laguna Niguel. Pushed by onshore winds, the fire quickly spotted across the canyon and up the ridges towards the Coronado Pointe. A total of 20 luxury homes were destroyed and another 12 were damaged by the fire. Hundreds of additional homes were damaged by smoke and soot. Approximately 900 homes were evacuated for many days due to the fire activity.
Southern California Edison Company (SCE) filed an Electrical Safety Incident Report with the California Public Utilities Commission while the fire was still burning stating that its Agate 12kV distribution circuit experienced “circuit activity close in time to the reported time of the fire.” Based upon our experience representing clients in the 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Woolsey Fire, “circuit activity” on SCE’s power lines in those fires was the result of an electrical arcing event which ignited those wildfires. Further, photos and videos taken shortly after the fire erupted show the heel of the fire directly below SCE’s power lines and poles.