US sues Saudi businessman for 2013 wildfire in Riverside County

US sues Saudi businessman for 2013 wildfire in Riverside County

Federal government prosecutors in the United States have filed a lawsuit against a Saudi national, who has a house Riverside County, for causing the 2013 wildfire.

The prosecutors said in federal court that Tarek M. Al-Shawaf'snegligent maintenance led to the fire. Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles alleged that an electrical box on Al-Shawaf's 20-acre property shot sparks that ignited the fire.Al-Shawaf'sattorney disputed the government accusations claiming that his client was not responsible for starting the fire in the area in 2013.

The law suit names Al-Shawaf and two caretakers, James and Donna Nowlin, who are hired by the Saudi man to maintain the proprety. Al-Shawaf is a well-known businessmen in the Middle Eastern country as he is the founder and president of Saudconsult, which is one of the oldest engineering and architectural firms in Saudi Arabia.

The fire destroyed 20 buildings, forced thousands of residents to evacuate and affected an area of 27,500 acres.The fire began on 15 July, 2013 near Idyllwild and spread through the large parts of the mountainous area southwest of Palm Springs. The authorities had dispatched more than 3,000 firefighters to battle the flames and more than 5,000 residents ha to evacuate due to the fire. The firefighters took around 16 days to dose the fire completely.

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