District lawyer brings fees in opposition to California utility over deadly 2020 Zogg fireplace

California prosecutors filed a number of manslaughter and different fees in opposition to the state’s largest utility firm, alleging it’s criminally answerable for a wildfire that burned tens of hundreds of acres and killed 4 folks final fall, together with an 8-year-old.

Shasta County District Legal professional Stephanie Bridgett introduced 31 felony and misdemeanor counts in opposition to Pacific Fuel and Electrical Co. on Friday, accusing it of negligence for failing to clear an space surrounding its electrical traces of injured timber that posed clear fireplace dangers.

“We’ve got adequate proof to show past an inexpensive doubt that Pacific Fuel and Electrical Co. is criminally answerable for the reckless ignition of the Zogg fireplace and the deaths and destruction it brought about,” Bridgett stated throughout a press convention.


Investigators spent the final 12 months working to find out what brought about the fireplace, concluding {that a} tree with “important seen accidents” fell on a PG&E line alongside the county’s Zogg Mine Street on Sept. 27, 2020.

The 100-foot grey pine had been marked two years earlier however was by no means eliminated in accordance with authorized necessities requiring utilities to clear hazardous timber from round their energy traces, Bridgett stated.

“They didn’t carry out their authorized duties,” she stated, calling the corporate’s failures “reckless and criminally negligent.”

The fireplace in the end burned 56,388 acres and destroyed 204 buildings. 4 folks additionally died within the blaze.

The Washington Examiner reached out to PG&E for touch upon the fees.

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Friday’s fees should not the primary to be leveled in opposition to PG&E. The Sonoma County District Legal professional’s Workplace filed felony fees in opposition to the corporate in April over the 2019 Kincade fireplace. Investigators concluded the blaze was attributable to a jumper cable on a transmission tower that broke in excessive winds, fell, and arced in opposition to the tower.

No one died within the fireplace, which burned roughly 78,000 acres and destroyed 374 constructions, together with 174 properties, however a number of firefighters have been injured, and a few 200,000 folks have been pressured to evacuate.

The corporate additionally pleaded responsible to 85 counts of manslaughter after the Camp fireplace in 2018. That blaze, which destroyed the city of Paradize, was the deadliest wildfire in California historical past.

PG&E additionally paid a $4 million positive for the Camp fireplace, and it expects to should pay up for the Zogg fireplace as nicely.

The corporate estimates civil liabilities from the fireplace may attain $375 million, based on a July submitting with the Securities and Alternate Fee.

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