California power company caused state's deadliest blaze, investigation finds

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2019

Wednesday, after completing what they described as a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CAL Fire officials say the Camp Fire was triggered in part by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) in the Pulga area of Butte County in the early morning hours of November 8, 2018.

The Camp Fire started on the morning of November 8, 2018, and burned for more than two weeks.

California fire authorities said Wednesday the utility's power lines caused the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. The cause of the second fire was determined to be vegetation into electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E.

In the report, CAL FIRE officials said the Camp Fire blaze was sparked by transmission lines that came into contact with dry vegetation at two different locations outside of Chico, California.

The Camp Fire investigative report has been forwarded to the Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.


Cal Fire announced the results of their investigation on Wednesday, six months after the wildfire that almost wiped out the town of Paradise.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s chief executive told California lawmakers that he expected the utility would be blamed, but he was still disappointed that the company he heads caused the state's most destructive wildfire a year ago.

Paradise Mayor Jody Jones said Wednesday she was not surprised to hear Pacific Gas & Electric power lines sparked the blaze that decimated her town and she hopes the findings help the city's legal case against the utility.

PG&E did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment on Wednesday.

"It's nice to have a definite answer", Jones said.


The utility, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, said in February it was "probable" that one of its transmission lines sparked the blaze.

The company was supposed to present its reorganization plan by the end of May, however, it recently asked for a six-month extension.

Newsom and lawmakers are working on proposals around utility liability for wildfires that could affect the bankruptcy. The people of Butte County are hopeful and resilient.

The company then filed for bankruptcy, expressing doubt that it would be able to remain in business after a $6.9 billion loss in 2018 as a result of the wildfire, according to the local station.


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