PG&E responsible for some October fires


Dakota McGranahan

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) removes lethal electrical wiring in Coffey Park during the October wildfires that devastated Sonoma County.

Matthew Wreden, Co-editor-in-Chief

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) was responsible for a dozen of the October 2017 wildfires across Northern California.

Beginning on Oct. 8, wildfires killed 45 people and destroyed more than 9,000 homes in Northern California.

CalFire investigators said Friday that 12 of the fires were caused by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) power lines.

Investigators said the power lines started many, but not all, of the fires that swept through Sonoma.

In Sonoma County, winds of 70 mph pushed the fires in multiple directions, which took out more than 245,000 acres across Northern California.

CalFire determined that a dozen of the fires, including the Atlas, Patrick and Nuns fires, started with trees or branches hitting power lines and falling onto vegetation.

The Tubbs Fire, one of the biggest fires that swept across Santa Rosa and caused 24 deaths, is still under investigation. However, PG&E said the Tubbs fire was started by wires belonging to a private homeowner.

Insurance claims from the fires are sitting around $10 billion to date.

State Sen. Jerry Hill said last year that if CalFire investigators blamed PG&E for the fires, he would attempt to break-up the company.

CalFire is pushing the completed investigation to district attorneys in the counties that burned; have the authority to prosecute.

California Public Utility Commision, (CPUC) which regulates state power companies, can also give out fines.

California law allows utilities to be held liable for fire costs, even in instances where the electric company is not found to have voided safety regulations.