The Latest: Mayor not surprised utility lines caused fire
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a wildfire that killed 85 people in Paradise, California (all times local):
Paradise Mayor Jody Jones says she is not surprised to hear Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines sparked a November blaze that killed 85 people in her town and she hopes the findings help its legal case against the utility.
California fire authorities said Wednesday the utility’s power lines caused the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.
Jones says “it’s nice to have a definite answer” about the cause of the blaze that decimated the town.
Paradise sued PG&E in January seeking damages for the loss of infrastructure, land, property, trees, public and natural resources and lost taxpayer resources.
The suit alleges that the Nov. 8 blaze started when electrical infrastructure owned, operated and maintained by PG&E failed, causing a spark that ignited the blaze.
The suit also alleges that PG&E had planned to de-energize power lines as a precaution against starting a fire but canceled those plans despite windy conditions.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. shouldn’t get an extra six months to reorganize.
The utility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January as it faced tens of billions of dollars in potential costs related to deadly California wildfires.
Its reorganization plan is due by the end of May, but the utility has requested an extension until November.
In a Wednesday court filing, Newsom said the utility’s request continues to show it lacks an urgent focus on improving safety. He’s asking the court to instead grant an extension through August.
Newsom and lawmakers are working on proposals around utility liability for wildfires that could affect the bankruptcy.
California investigators on Wednesday found PG&E power lines were responsible for last year’s wildfire that killed 85 people.
California fire authorities say Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power lines sparked the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.
Cal Fire said Wednesday the lines in the Pulga area ignited the Nov. 8 fire that killed 85 people in Paradise.
The investigation also identified a second nearby ignition site involving vegetation and electrical distribution lines, also owned and operated by the San Francisco-based utility.
The second fire was quickly consumed by the initial fire.
Lynsey Paulo, a spokeswoman for PG&E, did not immediately comment.
The fire in Butte County destroyed nearly 15,000 homes.
The nation’s largest utility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January as it faced tens of billions of dollars in potential liability costs related to wildfires in 2017 and 2018.