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Cox: We Didn't Start the Fire

3:00 PM -- Cox Communications Inc. went on the defensive today after it was blamed for its alleged role in starting one of the wildfires that raged in the San Diego area last year.

According to a 32-page staff report from the California Public Utilities Commission, Cox allowed a lashing wire to come into contact with a power line owned by San Diego Gas & Electric Co., igniting what's been called the Guejito Fire.

The Associated Press said the latest report follows another by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued in July that also blamed one of the fires on Cox. San Diego's city attorney Michael Aguirre reportedly plans to add the MSO to a lawsuit originally filed against SDG&E that aims to recover $40 million in firefighting costs and damage to city property.

In response, Cox said it has cooperated with all agencies during the vetting process, but countered that the conclusions aren't supported by the evidence and that staff statements in the report "are inconsistent with the facts."

"One thing that is not in question is that Cox fiber optic cables are not electrical cables and do not carry electrical current to start a fire," said the MSO, which serves as San Diego's incumbent cable operator. "We are confident that after a full investigation, the Commission will agree that the evidence does not support staff conclusions. Our number one priority has always been, and will continue to be, the safety of our customers, our employees and our community."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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