Business

PG&E the cause of Paradise’s deadly Camp Fire

Cal Fire announced on Wednesday that the Camp Fire, the deadliest fire in California’s history, was caused by electrical transmission lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

The fire, which ignited on Nov. 8, 2018, burned approximately 153,336 acres. In sum, it destroyed 18,804 structures and led to the death of 85 people.

According to the department, the fire started in Pulga. Due to dry vegetation and heavy, dry winds, the fire spread quickly into the outskirts of east Chico.

Cal Fire said it investigated a second ignition, which appeared to be caused by vegetation near electrical distribution lines operated by PG&E. That fire was eventually consumed by the first fire.

Following Cal Fire’s announcement, the utility said via statement “PG&E accepts this determination.”

PG&E had prepared for this finding as early as late February, when it told the California Public Utilities Commission that it was “probable” that it would be found to be the source of the fire.

Cal Fire announced that its investigative report was forwarded to the Butte County District Attorney’s office. It is believed that PG&E could face criminal charges related to involuntary manslaughter, or even murder, related to its causing the Camp Fire.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection in January after an avalanche of law suits from stemming from fires in 2017 and 2018 were filed.

PG&E stock dropped 30 cents on the Cal Fire news Wednesday, to $18.06, which is above its pre-bankruptcy filing price of $17.59.

The San Joaquin Valley Sun
Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.