California Not Liable for Homes Destroyed in Fire

     (CN) – California residents who lost their homes in a 2007 state park fire cannot collect damages from the state, an appeals court ruled. Even if the state had blocked access to the cave where the fire started, the court ruled, it would not have prevented people from bringing firewood and alcohol into Malibu Creek State Park.

     The fire, originally a cave bonfire, had raged out of control, wiping out 5,000 acres and 50 homes in the Corral Canyon area.
     Priscilla Avedon and other homeowners filed claims with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, which rejected them.
     The homeowners responded by suing the state for nuisance and the dangerous condition of public property. They also alleged that the state failed to block access to the cave, which they claim has been a popular party spot for decades.
     The 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles upheld the lower court’s dismissal of the case.
     “Blocking nearby vehicular access with a gate might have impeded access from that particular location, but it would not have prevented individuals from entering the park, or from bringing firewood and alcohol into the park,” Justice Norman Epstein wrote.

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