Wildfire suit involves Einstein documents

March 25, 2010 at 1:00 PM

MORGAN HILL, Calif., March 25 (UPI) -- A California man's lawsuit says a 2007 wildfire destroyed a number of documents created by physicist Albert Einstein.

Dan Straus, 55, a professor at San Jose State University, is suing Margaret Pavese, who was convicted of accidentally starting the fire, which destroyed two cabins, a trailer and an outbuilding on his property.

Straus said the loss of the Einstein documents, which were on the property, was devastating.

"It was like somebody close died," Straus insists.

A expert reportedly estimated the 42 pages of calculations written by Einstein would have been worth as much as $400,000.

Pavese was convicted of accidentally starting the 2007 fire by using a metal barrel to burn paper plates. After she left the 55-gallon barrel unattended, the fire spread and eventually scorched 47,760 acres.

In addition to the damage done to lands in Henry W. Coe State Park, the wildfire destroyed 20 outbuildings and four residences.

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