Cal Fire: PG&E Not to Blame for Tubbs Fire

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In a dramatic and long-awaited announcement, Cal Fire said today that the Tubbs Fire that roared through Sonoma County and the city of Santa Rosa in October 2017 was sparked by a private electrical system, and not one owned and operated by PG&E.

The announcement sent shock waves through the state, not just among fire victims, but also state agencies, insurance companies, and shareholders of the state’s largest utility system.

The much-anticipated announcement, issued after more than a year old investigation, appeared, at first glance, to take PG&E off the hook for an estimated 10 billion dollars in damages, 22 deaths, and the destruction of 5600 homes.  At the time the Tubbs Fire was the most destructive in state history.  That distinction now belongs to the Camp Fire, which destroyed the city of Paradise in Butte County this past November.

PG&E recently announced its intention to file for bankruptcy protection.  There is so far no word on how the Cal Fire findings will affect that situation.  PG&E’s stock, which had fallen dramatically since the 2017 fires, doubled in value quickly after the announcement, to more than 13 dollars a share.

PG&E was found responsible by Cal Fire for at least 12 fires ignited in the October Firestorm, and experts believe a company equipment failure may be found to be the cause of the Camp Fire in Butte County, the most deadly and damaging fire in state history.

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