Add Another Lawsuit to the List for Oil Company Operating in Brea

Ted Soqui
Palm trees burst into flames in nearby Yorba Linda. To see more images from the 2008 devastation, click here.
The flames of Brea's 2008 landfill fire (which you may remember eventually contributed to the Freeway Complex Fire) may have been long extinguished but the problems of BreitBurn Management Company continue to smolder.

The energy producer, which maintains oil drilling operations in Brea was sued for $12 million in Orange County civil court last July by homeowners Darrell and Kerry Kamm after their ranch was destroyed in the inferno. According to Brea police and fire officials, loose power poles and overgrown brush on BreitBurn's property near Valencia Ave. and Carbon Canyon Rd. sparked the fire which destroyed three homes. Following the Police investigation, the facts were handed off to the Orange County District Attorney. According to DA spokesperson Farrah Emami, her office declined to press charges because BreitBurn refused to allow police to interview its employees.

Wikimedia Commons
Shot just seconds after the Freeway Complex Fire jumped the 91 Freeway from the Santa Ana Riverbed.
The Weekly recently discovered another suit filed on Nov. 10 by Linn Energy who operates oil  facilities adjacent to BreitBurn's in what is known as the Olinda Lease. Linn is asking for $25,001 in damages.

The suit alleges negligence on the part of BreitBurn, resulting in damages to Linn's facilities  and temporarily halting drilling operations during the massive fire, which merged with another blaze in the Green River area near the 91 Freeway and was renamed the Freeway Complex Fire.

Paula Beasley, spokeswoman for Texas-based Linn Energy declined to comment on the matter explaining it was the policy of her company not to publicly discuss pending litigation. There was no answer at BreitBurn's Los Angeles offices. Following the investigation, Brea Police said the fire wasn't intentionally set, though they added it didn't preclude "criminal negligence."

Dean Fryer, spokesman for the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration, said aside from two violations stemming from a random inspection in July 2008, BreitBurn doesn't have a history of rank negligence.

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