PG&E Admits Its Equipment Likely Started Deadly California Wildfire

Among dozens of lawsuits is one that claims the utility prioritized advertising spending over fire safety.

Camp Fire
Fueled by high winds and low humidity the Camp Fire ripped through the town of Paradise charring 105,000 acres, killing 23 people and destroying over 6,700 homes and businesses. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Pacific Gas and Electric says it’s “probable” that its equipment caused the Camp Fire of Northern California last year, the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.

While the state of California has not yet finished its investigation into the role PG&E played in last November’s fire that killed at least 85 people, destroyed about 14,000 structures, displaced tens of thousands of people and destroyed the town of Paradise, the utility company expects the investigation will find that its damaged infrastructure sparked the fire, NPR reported.

Last month, PG&E filed for bankruptcy.

The company is currently facing billions of dollars in possible liabilities and nearly two dozen lawsuits from victims of the Camp Fire, including allegations of poor equipment maintenance.

One lawsuit claims that the utility prioritized advertising spending over fire and public safety, according to NPR.

In a statement Thursday, the company pointed to damage on a tower near where the Camp Fire broke out —which it had previously reported to state regulators — as the fire’s likely origin.

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