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Wine County Fires

PG&E Power Lines Are Being Linked To The Wine Country Fires

According to The Mercury News, “dispatch records show that Sonoma county residents were reporting electrical trouble just as the fires erupted.” The Mercury News reported that, “Sonoma County dispatchers sent out fire crews to at least 10 different locations across the county over a 90-minute period starting at 9:22pm to respond to 911 calls and other reports of sparking wires and problems with the county’s electrical system amid high winds.” This raises questions as to “how well PG&E maintained its equipment in the area and whether it adequately cut back trees from power lines to reduce fire risk – as required by state law.” According to The Mercury News, “As the first reports came in Sunday night of numerous fires that would grow into one of the most destructive wildfire disasters in California history, emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.” It is being reported that at least 3,500 home and business have been destroyed and more than 17 people have died.

Read the full story here: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/10/pge-power-lines-linked-to-wine-country-fires/

PG&E And Other Large Utilities in California Have A Long History Of Being Found Responsible For Major Wildfires Because Of Inadequate Maintenance Of Their Power Lines

According to The Mercury News:

“In April, the state Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked the Butte Fire in Amador County in September 2015. That fire burned for 22 days, killing two people, destroying 549 homes and charring 70,868 acres.

“CalFire announced last year that it will seek to force PG&E to pay $90 million in firefighting costs. More than 1,000 lawsuits and claims are still pending against the utility.” There are allegations that it was “more than just a lack of maintenance. It was a complete disregard for their requirements of vegetation management in rural areas.”

Some witnesses to the Wine Country Fires have reported seeing “transformers exploding and downed wires sparking in their neighborhoods before they went up in flames.”

“In 1994, PG&E was found guilty of 739 counts of negligence and fined nearly $30 million by state regulators when trees touched its high-voltage wires in Nevada County in the Sierra foothills, sparking a fire near the town of Rough and Ready that destroyed 12 homes and a 19th century schoolhouse. Afterward, prosecutors found that PG&E had diverted nearly $80 million from its tree-cutting programs into profits.”

“State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-Redwood City, said he sees similarities in PG&E’s problems with maintaining its power lines to the utility’s failure to properly maintain its natural gas lines that led to the 2010 San Bruno explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. PG&E was fined $1.6 billion by the PUC, and a federal jury last year convicted the company on five charges of violating federal pipeline safety regulations and one charge of obstructing an official National Transportation Safety Board probe into the blast.”

Read the full story here: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/10/pge-power-lines-linked-to-wine-country-fires/

Kaupp & Feinberg sue PG&E For Ghost Ship Fire

On December 2, 2016, at the “Ghost Ship” warehouse a horrific fire occurred that killed 36 people and seriously injured others. The interior of the 10,000 square-foot Ghost Ship was a veritable death trap that contained a maze of makeshift rooms, alcoves and partitions. It was cluttered with carvings, mannequins, paintings, artwork, scraps of wood, pianos, furniture, tapestries and several recreational vehicles. In other words, fuel for a fire that simply needed a spark.

PG&E is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, which establishes regulations, including Rules and Tariffs that PG&E must adhere to. This complex regulatory system imposes numerous duties and obligations on PG&E for the purpose of safeguarding the public interest, including the health and safety or PG&E customers and employees.

The allegations in the lawsuit against PG&E charges that PG&E failed to meet its duties under the rules and regulations that govern it. California Public Utilities Section 2016 states: Any public utility which does, causes to be done, or permits any act, matter, or thing prohibited or declared unlawful, or which omits to do any act, matter, or thing required to be done, either by the Constitution, any law of this State, or any order or decision of the commission shall be liable to the persons or corporations affected thereby for all loss, damages, or injury caused thereby or resulting therefrom.” Kaupp & Feinberg is fighting each day to ensure that PG&E is held liable for all loss, damages, and injury that it may have caused in the Ghost Ship fire.

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