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Santa Susana Laboratory
The fire itself started in an area that has a history, more notorious than beloved.
It began as a brush fire near the site of a partial nuclear meltdown at the Santa Susana Laboratory in Simi Valley.
The laboratory is the site of a series of nuclear reactor accidents, including a partial meltdown in the 1959, and a place where tens of thousands of rocket engine tests took place using propellants that are known carcinogens.
The burned through a portion of the site, but did not pose any additional public health threats.
“The source and location of the fire is under investigation by Cal Fire,” a spokesperson for Boeing told Motherboard in an email. “It may have originated on or near Boeing’s Santa Susana site.”
Whether the point of ignition was within the boundaries of SSFL is still being investigated, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Fire Department told Motherboard on Tuesday over the phone.
Only moments before Cal Fire reported that the Woolsey Fire began, a “disturbance” triggered an outage of the Chatsworth substation belonging to the electric utility Southern California Edison. State regulators are now probing the possibility that the Woolsey Fire is connected to Southern California Edison infrastructure. The company said in a statement that it will “fully cooperate,” but there has been “no determination of origin or cause.”