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Valley Fire Caused by Faulty Hot Tub Wiring

Officials determine the source of the historic September fire that destroyed 76,000 acres

Someone’s going to be in hot water for this one.

Cal Fire has determined the cause of the devastating Valley Fire, “the third-most destructive wildfire in California’s history,” the Napa Valley Register reported: faulty wiring for a hot tub.

Homeowner John Pinch “admitted [to] installing a circuit to power his hot tub on a covered deck,” SF Gate reported. It was a spark from a poorly insulated copper wire that ignited dry grass and leaves, and caused the massive fire that burned 76,000 acres, killed four people, and destroyed more than 1,300 homes.

The impact of the Valley fire extends beyond property destruction, as California produces more than half of the country’s vegetables, fruits, and nuts, according to the house committee on natural resources.

Officials say these actions are “a misdemeanor, negligently starting a fire, and a building code violation.” However, it is up to the district attorney’s office to determine official charges. Cal Fire will be submitting a 500-page investigative report to Don Anderson, Lake Country district attorney, for consideration.

“To find out something as anticlimactic as faulty wiring put in for a hot tub... dang,” Rob Brown, Lake County supervisor, said. “I can’t imagine what the owners of the property are going through. I can’t imagine living with that.”

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