A company that was a tenant in a Boyle Heights warehouse where three firefighters were injured fighting a massive blaze in 2018 is suing the city of Los Angeles and a joint powers authority, alleging that third-party contractors hired to do electrical work caused the massive blaze.
In the Los Angeles Superior Court suit filed Tuesday, Jhana Apparel Inc. seeks unspecified damages on allegations of inverse condemnation, negligence, negligent hiring, supervision and retention, dangerous condition of public property, trespass and nuisance.
Names as co-defendants with the city and the Southern California Public Power Authority are M.B. Herzog Electrical Inc. and Lime Energy Services Co, both of which were hired by the DWP and the SCPPA to install LED lighting at the warehouse, the suit states.
A representative for the City Attorney’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The fire broke out at the warehouse in the 2800 block of East Pico Boulevard at 12:46 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2018. About 150 firefighters spent about two hours fighting the flames, and three of them were hurt when part of the roof caved in. All three were hospitalized.
“At some point prior to the fire, representatives of LADWP arrived … to begin changing the lighting fixtures inside the building to use LED lighting,” according to the suit. “It was agreed that LADWP would handle every aspect of changing of the lighting fixtures, including costs.”
During the installation of the new lighting, the fire ignited and destroyed the building, according to the suit, which says electrical lighting equipment carrying electricity is a “dangerous instrumentality and a hazardous and dangerous activity.”
The city, the SCPPA and the companies share liability for not ensuring that the lighting change was done safely and without damage to the building, the suit alleges.
The SCPPA is a joint powers authority comprised of municipal utilities, including the LADWP, that provides joint planning, financing, construction, maintenance, control and operation of power transmission and generation projects.
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