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

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

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

Investigators also pointed out a second ignition site, which apparently caught fire when vegetation blew into electrical distribution lines owned by PG&E.

California fire officials said Wednesday that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. power lines sparked a Northern California blaze that killed 85 people, making it the deadliest USA wildfire in a century. Several firefighters were injured.

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.

CAL FIRE investigators were immediately dispatched to the Camp Fire and began working to determine the origin and cause of the fire.

"I have made the assumption when I got here that PG&E equipment caused the fire", he said, noting the utility had said that was probable in recent filings. But prosecutors from four affected counties later determined there was no basis to criminally charge the utility in connection with the so-called North Bay fires. This fire was consumed by the original fire which started earlier near Pulga.

Shares of San Francisco-based PG&E initially fell 3.1 percent in after-hours trading following release of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) statement announcing findings of its investigation of the blaze.

The suit alleges the blaze started when electrical infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by PG&E failed, causing a spark that ignited the blaze.

The company faces dozens of lawsuits from Camp Fire victims and billions of dollars in potential liabilities.

When the fire began at those Pulga power lines, fire driven by strong winds quickly spread through dry grass and brush under "Red Flag" conditions.



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