Utility Company Says Its Equipment Probably Caused Camp Fire
Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation or PG&E has gotten closer to taking responsibility for the Camp Fire in Northern California, the deadliest wildfire in the United States in a century. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the utility company said it is “probable” that one of its transmission lines sparked the fire last year, which left 85 people dead and destroyed most of the city of Paradise. PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection in January and is taking a $10.5 billion charge for claims connected to the fire in its fourth-quarter earnings.
Equipment Needed Repairs
The fire destroyed thousands of homes in and around Paradise. The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation, but firefighters said it originated near a PG&E transmission line. The utility company said in a news release that based on currently-known information it is probable that PG&E equipment could have sparked the power. The company has previously acknowledged that the transmission line in question lost power right before the fire and was later found damaged.
The company’s CEO has said they should have done more to adapt to and address the increasing threat of wildfires. He said they are taking action now on important safety and maintenance measures. The Wall Street Journal has reported that PG&E since 2013 has repeatedly delayed safety work on that particular transmission line including replacing wires and towers.
PG&E also said there was an outage and downed wires in another location called Big Bend on the morning of the Camp Fire. The transmission line that is said to have sparked the fire has been out of service since mid-December and inspections have found that equipment needed to be repaired or replaced, the company said.
Protecting Victims’ Rights
The fire that destroyed Paradise and surrounding areas was probably the most devastating fire to hit the state of California in recent memory. While the news has moved on and the fire is out of people’s minds, the residents of the area will end up spending the next several years rebuilding their homes and their lives, in many cases, without their loved ones who were also lost in the fire.
If you or a loved one has been affected by a fire caused by a utility company’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit against the company seeking compensation for your damages and losses. Please contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will fight for your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.