Last year, the Camp Fire burned through Northern California and became the deadliest wildfire in the state after it claimed 85 lives. The fire was the costliest natural disaster of 2018, causing an astounding $16.5 billion in damage. It destroyed nearly 19,000 homes as it burned through 153,336 acres of land. Now, California officials have confirmed that they’ve determined that Pacific Gas & Electric is at fault for the historic blaze.
What Investigators Determined
On Wednesday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, confirmed the conclusion of a “very meticulous and thorough investigation.” The investigation confirmed that the Camp Fire was started by “electrical transmission lines owned and operated” by PG&E.
State officials determined that the fire started near the small community of Pulga, located about 95 miles north of Sacramento. The fire spread at such a rate that it destroyed much of the town of Paradise. Images from Paradise revealed abandoned cars on the highway, charred buildings, and empty foundations where homes and businesses once stood.
PG&E Admitted It Was Likely at Fault
Last January, PG&E filed for bankruptcy citing $30 billion in liabilities from the wildfire. The company admitted that it was likely responsible for the fire. PG&E confirmed in another filing that the Butte Country district attorney and California’s attorney general were initiating a criminal investigation into the Camp Fire.
PG&E said that it suspects the fire started at a tower on its Caribou-Palermo transmission line. Utility crews identified damage to a tower that was almost 100 years old. According to The New York Times, PG&E admitted that “that more must be done to adapt to and address the increasing threat of wildfires and extreme weather.” The company claims that it is increasing inspections and maintenance on its lines.
Survivors Struggle for Compensation After PG&E Bankruptcy Claim
Some estimates have determined that it could take years for those who survived the fire to find out how much compensation they will receive from PG&E. Because of PG&E’s bankruptcy claim, wildfire claims will have to be considered along with the company owns investors and creditors.
“If I caused the fire, I wouldn’t be able to file bankruptcy, and I wouldn’t be able to make other people pay for it,” said Randi Hall, who lost her home to the fire. “Why does a company that has so many millions of dollars in insurance get to do it?”
Arnold & Itkin’s PG&E wildfire claims lawyers are ready to help you if you are struggling because of the Camp Fire. We’ve documented this company’s negligence before and are prepared to fight for the compensation of those it has harmed. Call us today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation of your case.