Homeowner Sued for $25M Over California Wildfire

David McNew/Getty Images
San Bernardino wildfire in July 2016

The lawsuit argues his negligence sparked a fire that forced 5,000 people from their homes.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The federal government is suing a homeowner for nearly $25 million, arguing his negligence sparked a 2013 fire in the mountains east of Los Angeles that forced 5,000 people from their homes.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles, says a short in a poorly maintained electrical junction box sparked a July 2013 fire in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs.

It blackened about 27,500 acres of brush and timber and threatened the town of Idyllwild.

More than 3,000 firefighters and 30 aircraft fought the blaze, which burned for more than two weeks.

The lawsuit contends that the owner of property in Mountain Center was negligent in maintaining the electrical box. It seeks repayment for firefighting costs and for damage to the environment. 

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