State investigators: Improper inspections by California utility caused deadly wildfire

State investigators: Improper inspections by California utility caused deadly wildfire
© Getty

A California state investigation laid a 2018 wildfire that killed more than 80 people at the feet of power company PG&E Corp., which failed to properly inspect and replace transmission lines, according to Reuters.

The investigation traced the 2018 Camp Fire back to the Caribou-Palermo transmission line. The fire, the deadliest in the history of the state and the costliest disaster of 2018, nearly incinerated the entire northern California town of Paradise.

“PG&E failed to maintain an effective inspection and maintenance program to identify and correct hazardous conditions on its transmission lines ... as are necessary to promote the safety and health of its patrons and the public,” the California Public Utilities Commission said in a 700-page report, dated Nov. 8 but released Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

The investigation found a pattern of “inadequate” inspections that culminated in the fire, according to Reuters.

“We remain deeply sorry about the role our equipment had in this tragedy, and we apologize to all those impacted by the devastating Camp Fire,” PG&E wrote in an email to Reuters.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy in January amid more than $30 billion in potential civil liabilities relating to wildfires, has also been castigated for mandatory power shutoffs during the 2019 wildfire season, during which a man who relied on an oxygen tank died.