Northern California Record

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

More lawsuits filed against PG&E over Camp Fire damages


By Carrie Bradon | Dec 21, 2018


PARADISE – As of Dec. 17, 47 additional families have filed lawsuits against Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) over allegations damages existed that the company failed to remedy and that these damages ultimately led to Camp Fire.

According to CaseyGerry, a law firm in San Diego that is representing the plaintiffs, PG&E’s towers were damaged in 2012, giving the company plenty of time to ensure that the necessary repairs had been made; however, the company allegedly failed to do so. 

The allegedly damaged component was a suspension insulator that was supporting a transposition jumper and had come detached from an arm on the tower and another insulator. These purported damages allegedly caused the high voltage wires to malfunction, resulting in sparks being sent out into the environment, which was in an ideal condition for a fire.

Angela Jae Chun, CaseyGerry | Courtesy of Angela Jae Chun

Angela Jae Chun of CaseyGerry commented on the incident and why this new evidence is crucial in determining fault.

“My understanding is that the towers were repaired or replaced, but what we do not know is whether PG&E replaced the equipment on it, including the hook that failed, or other attachment pieces,” Jae Chun told the Northern California Record.

Jae Chun said that the company was well aware of the risks that its components posed and that such a malfunction could cause a fire.

“The company has known about the high fire danger risk, they knew about the wind conditions in the area, especially the Jarbo Gap winds, and they knew that equipment failures could cause wildfires,” Jae Chun said. “They knew the subject power line was over 100 years old and that jumper and attachment pieces are subject to wear.”

Jae Chun said that the company is also linked to the North Bay fires in 2017, as it could have helped to prevent the fires but ultimately failed to. 

“This is just another example of PG&E cutting costs on maintenance to increase profits and their bottom line,” Jae Chun said. 

Jae Chun said that if the maintenance failures of PG&E indeed caused the fires, that it will be a great victory for the plaintiffs of the case. 

“This new evidence further supports our position that PG&E’s failure to safely and properly maintain its power lines caused the fire. If the reports that a hook failed are accurate, we know that there were other options other than hook available – for example, there is another piece that actually closes. The hook could have and should have been replaced,” Jae Chun said.

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