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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review
/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

State Cites Edison in Fatal Movie Accident

November 18, 1998

BURBANK — State regulators have cited Southern California Edison for rules violations related to a desert accident that electrocuted a Disney movie crew member and severely burned another man, newly released state documents show.

The Public Utilities Commission found that the utility violated state rules because a "High Voltage" warning sign was missing and damaged equipment was in the vicinity of the accident last February.

A steel camera boom used by the crew members rose into high-voltage wires on a remote desert location where backgrounds were being filmed for Disney's upcoming film "Dinosaur."

An Edison spokesman said the utility had made every effort to abide by state rules.

"We make it a practice to put the high-voltage signs wherever they're required," said Edison spokesman Tom Boyd. "But there are times that signs that are put up, come down. In this case I don't know if that's what happened. We will have to investigate."

Matthew Gordy, 31, of Thousand Oaks was killed and 33-year-old David Riggio of Encino was severely burned in the accident in Poison Canyon, near the remote town of Trona, on Feb. 25.

Investigators found that a counterweight mounted on a flatbed trailer was thrown off-balance, causing a metal camera boom carrying Gordy and Riggio to rise into the high-voltage lines.

Last April, the Cal/OSHA fined Disney $5,000 for violating worker safety laws.

In that inquiry, the agency found that Disney failed to post proper warning signs and institute necessary training for crew members handling the camera boom.

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