Northern California Tubbs Fire Lawsuit Ignites Against PG&E

Tubbs Fire
California National Guard/Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Cosse

The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating whether PG&E electrical lines sparked the most lethal wildfire in the state’s history. The wildfires that tore through California’s wine country killed more than forty people and displaced tens of thousands. Evacuees only had minutes, leaving with few, if any, belongings. Experts expect the emotional trauma will remain long after the physical rebuilding has finished. While the investigation continues to unfold, many are taking action to take PG&E to task for destroying thousands of lives. They allege that PG&E failed to properly maintain power lines in the area and manage nearby vegetative growth. This fire hazard may have sparked the Tubbs fire that ravaged Northern California’s wine country.

If you, or a loved one, were directly impacted by the Tubbs fire, then your time to act is now. Attorneys are projecting that PG&E may be liable to up to $6 billion in damages for failing to properly maintain its powerlines, leading to the most destructive wildfires in California history.  Beyond any compensation considerations, this is your chance to make sure that no one else ever suffers from the incendiary flares of PG&E’s negligence again. For a free and confidential case evaluation, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page or contact us directly at (800) 305-6000.

Make the decision to start rising out of the ashes today.

Tubbs Fire Lawsuit Allegations Against PG&E

There are numerous factors that indicate that PG&E’s negligence may have caused the disastrous October Northern California Tubbs fire, including:

  • Starting at 9:22pm on Sunday, Oct. 8, at least 10 locations reported downed power lines and exploding transformers over a 90-minute period. This is precisely when the Tubbs fire began.
  • PG&E first blamed “hurricane strength winds in excess of 75 mph in some cases” for damaging their equipment. However, a local weather station where the Tubbs fire started indicates that wind speeds were 30 – 41 mph. While some areas reported short gusts between 50 – 60 mph, this still falls short of state regulations. Under California state law, power lines must be able to withstand sustained winds of at least 56 mph.
  • PG&E has a long history of being found responsible for major wildfires because of inadequate power line maintenance. Prosecutors recently found the company responsible for failing to maintain a power line that sparked the 2015 Butte Fire. Attorneys in the case also cited a complete disregard for vegetation management regulatory requirements. In 1994, PG&E was found guilty of 739 counts of negligence when trees touched high-voltage wires in Nevada County in the Sierra foothills. Prosecutors found that PG&E had diverted nearly $80 million from its tree-cutting programs to make way for higher profits.
  • There are also striking similarities between PG&E’s power line maintenance and its failures to properly maintain its natural gas lines. PG&E was found guilty for the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion.  Prosecutors charged the company with violating pipeline safety laws and obstructing investigators.

PG&E’s Negligence Needs to Stop with Tubbs Fire

Current Tubbs fire plaintiffs allege that the wine country fires started when PG&E’s powerlines came into contact with surrounding vegetation that PG&E was responsible for maintaining.

“[…Defendants] were negligent in that they failed to properly maintain, repair, and inspect the subject lines, equipment, and adjacent vegetation and negligently failed to properly trim, prune, remove, and/or otherwise maintain vegetation near their electrical equipment so as to secure safety to the general public.”

While the investigation is ongoing, analysts are assigning a 75 percent chance of PG&E being liable. If this turns out to be the case, State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-Redwood City has vowed to do his part to ensure PG&E will never in the position to endanger the public again.

“If it turns out that PG&E is responsible for this fire and negligent for not putting in the resources or for diverting the resources,” Hill said, “then I will be the first one to stand up and say we need to dissolve PG&E as a private company and form a public utility. We would not have the confidence or trust in them in the future. Nor should we.”

Every person who stands up and takes action now against PG&E will be an essential part of building this safer tomorrow.



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