Although the investigation into the Sonoma wildfires and Napa wildfires is ongoing, officials have released information regarding the fires; specifically, where damaged Pacific Gas & Electric Co equipment was found. According to the released details, some damaged equipment owned by PG&E was found near the ignition points of various wildfires. The October wildfires devastated parts of California, including the Sonoma and Napa counties, caused massive property damage and proved deadly, killing 44 people.
California wildfire lawsuits have been filed against PG&E, alleging the company is responsible for the fires by not properly maintaining vegetation that surrounds the utility’s power lines.
Area Residents Not Surprised by News of PG&E Equipment Location
Tim Korn, who owned the Relais du Soleil guest ranch, told a reporter for The Press Democrat he wasn’t surprised that damaged PG&E equipment was found near the Nuns Canyon Road fire.
“The fire did start at Nuns Canyon when a tree fell on a power pole and a transformer exploded,” Korn said. I know because it woke me up.” According to Korn, some of the PG&E metered line on his property ran under a large tree with long, overhanging limbs.
Among the locations where damaged PG&E equipment was found and potentially linked to a fire:
- The Nuns fire (at Nuns Canyon Road)
- The Atlas fire (at Atlas Peak Road)
- The Partrick fire (at Partrick Road, which later merged with the Nuns fire)
- The Tubbs fire (on Bennett Lane in Calistoga).
The state Public Utilities Commission posted its reports online.
Cal Fire Investigating the October Wildfires
So far, no cause for the fires has been given as investigations into each of the fires is ongoing. Investigations can take months to years to complete and each individual fire in the California wildfires is investigated separately.
If vegetation around PG&E equipment is found to be a cause of the fires, it wouldn’t be the first time. Earlier in 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission handed PG&E an $8.3 million fine following a 2015 fire that killed two people and destroyed 549 homes. Investigators found the fire started when a pine tree contacted a PG&E power line.
PG&E has claimed that at least one of the wildfires was started by equipment owned and installed by a third party.
California Fire Insurance Claims Top $9.4 Billion
According to a report in The Sacramento Bee, as of early December 2017, insurance claims reached $9.4 billion and a total of 14,686 claims had been filed in Sonoma County, with an additional 2,470 claims in Napa County. As of that report, however, some wildfires were still burning and at least one new blaze had erupted in Bel Air.
California Wildfire Attorney
If you have been affected by the California wildfires, including the Atlas fire, Nuns fire, Pocket fire, or Tubbs fire, contact an attorney at Cutter Law today to discuss your legal options. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions related to the fires—including any insurance questions you might have—and are dedicated to ensuring you receive the compensation you’re entitled to.
If you live in Santa Rosa or Sonoma and suffered damages as a result of the fires, contact us at 707-306-0540 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.