Prosecutors looking at a dozen fire investigations that could implicate PG&E

camp fire smoke column
The Camp Fire, Friday morning November 9, 2018. SJSU FireWeatherLab.

Already on probation after the 2010 San Bruno gas line explosion that killed eight, injured 58, and destroyed 38 homes, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company could be responsible for causing November’s Camp Fire at Paradise, California and 12 other Northern California blazes that burned thousands of houses in 2017.

CAL FIRE investigators are looking at two possible PG&E power line failures that may have ignited the Camp Fire resulting in the deaths of 86 people. The agency has already prepared investigation reports on 12 fires from last year for which they believe PG&E likely violated state laws. It is now up to the seven county prosecutors and the state Attorney General to determine if they are going to file criminal charges.

PG&E’s actions before and after the gas line explosion in 2010 could be noted in combination with the recent fires likely caused by the electrical equipment, leading to additional probation controls imposed by the court.

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the federal charges related to the gas line explosion:

“On April 1, 2014, PG&E was indicted by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, for multiple violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 relating to its record keeping and pipeline “integrity management” practices. An additional indictment was issued by the grand jury on July 29, 2014, charging the company with obstruction of justice for lying to the NTSB regarding its pipeline testing policy, bringing the total number of counts in the indictment to 28. Under the new indictment, the company could be fined as much as $1.3 billion, based on profit associated with the alleged misconduct, in addition to $2.5 billion for state regulatory violations.

“On January 21, 2017, PG&E was fined $3 million and ordered to perform 10,000 hours of community service for criminal actions of violating the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act and for obstruction of justice. In addition, it must institute a compliance and ethics monitoring program and spend up to $3 million to “publicize its criminal conduct”. These actions were imposed after the company was found guilty by a federal jury in August, 2016 of six of the twelve charges against the company in US District Court.”

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

3 thoughts on “Prosecutors looking at a dozen fire investigations that could implicate PG&E”

    1. ive been saying that for years,as someone who lives in the heart of PG&E country,ive said that a human needs to be held accountable for large corps or the activity will never change.some CEOs have infact been sent to prison for what their companies have done,but never from PG&E,i was a firefighter in the 80s,and most of the fires then were “storm” related,yet it was the failure of the powerlines or even poles,that caused the ex neighbor was a PGE troubleman ,he was also (or is) an alchololic (wont give his name as i respect him for what hes done since) but he had told me several times,,yeah our lines are old and coming apart.but its repair or splice,,never replace.and they caused many many fires.nothings change but prices,and no mater what comes in future,it will still be cost increases and more fires,after the san bruno thing,we were told our prices would not go up due to the fire issue,then prices went wayyyy up and they explained to us,,it had nothing to do with san bruno,we had issues to fix….naw..they had us pay anyway.

  1. PG and E claims that they found damage to the insulators on the line due to firearms (vandalism). This is not an uncommon problem. In Idaho I have seen insulators on a BPA 115 KV line that appear to have been bullet damage. Idiots!!!

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