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Saddle Ridge Fire Started Under High-Voltage Transmission Tower, Investigators Confirm

SYLMAR (CBSLA) — Arson investigators confirmed Monday that the deadly and destructive Saddle Ridge Fire started under a high-voltage transmission tower.

While they now know the location of where the fire started, they are still determining how exactly it started.

Monica Delgado Garcia, who lives behind where the fire started, said her parents were home when the fire began.

"They saw a small fire under the tower," she said. "We don't know if someone started it. We don't know if it was arson. We don't know if there was just a malfunction with the tower."

In a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, Southern California Edison "alerted regulators that an incident on its electrical equipment may be linked to the damaging Saddleridge Fire."

"Those towers have been here since I've been here," Michael Cornell, a Sylmar resident, said. "It's just kind of keeps me wondering how safe are we considering those towers aren't going to go anywhere."

The 8,391-acre fire exploded Thursday night fueled by powerful Santa Ana winds.

The fire jumped from Sylmar to Porter Ranch and then to Granada Hills in a matter of hours, burning homes along the way.

According to L.A. Fire Dept. Captain Erik Scott, about 20 structures were destroyed by the fire, and another 58 were damaged. As of Monday evening, the fire was 44% contained.

The fire disrupted the lives of families in Granada Hills and Porter Ranch. Some residents were spending their time trying to salvage what they could, and spent their nights camping by their belongings to protect what they had left.

Crews in the air and on the ground worked Monday to contain the fire.

Most schools in the fire zone reopened Monday, including Castlebay Lane Charter.

Many students could be seen wearing masks, while some parents avoided sending their children back to school altogether.

"I saw on Facebook that the school was not cleaned as much as they said it was," said Stacey Hachey whose daughter attends the school.

Hachey said her daughter got a headache at school and other children complained of feeling nauseous.

Dee Ann Abernathy kept her daughters home from school. She said the school just wasn't clean enough.

"According to the other parents at school who have been in the classrooms and have shared pictures, it definitely is not [clean]," she said. "There's black soot everywhere."

School employees said it had been cleaned and told parents it would be cleaned again Monday night.

The cause of the Saddle Ridge Fire remained undetermined as of Monday evening.

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