Cal Fire: PG&E equipment caused 12 Northern California fires during October firestorm
Cal Fire investigators said Friday that equipment owned and operated by PG&E ignited 12 wildfires that raged in hot, dry weather and high winds across Northern California in October, charring hundreds of square miles in Sonoma County and beyond, destroying thousands of structures and killing 18 people.
The utility was in violation of state code on eight of those fires, failing to clear brush around its lines and properly maintain its power equipment, according to state fire investigators.
Over 40,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the deadliest wildfire on record. Social media helps showcase first-hand the destruction caused by the massive fires raging through Northern California, particularly in Santa Rosa located deep in Sonoma County.
This bodycam video shows a dramatic police rescue of a disabled woman in Santa Rosa, California, as wildfires sweep the state pic.twitter.com/oHqVaFf4tE
On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission - a regulatory agency responsible for privately owned public utilities in the state of California - launched an investigation into the role PG&E may have played in the devastating fires in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.
A number of PG&E's downed wires and blown transformers occurred at the same time of multiple fires igniting, according to fire dispatch calls from the first 90 minutes of the firestorm. The director of PUC's safety and enforcement division, Elizaveta Malashenko, sent a letter to PG&E ordering it to "preserve all evidence" including "all failed poles, conductors and associated equipment from each fire event."
structures destroyed, including homes, business and community buildings
firefighters work to contain the blaze
Hundreds of acres in Northern California continue to burn. Santa Rosa, located in the heart of Sonoma County, has suffered some of the worst destruction. The fires have destroyed nearly 3,000 homes and caused $1.2 billion in damage. Over 200 are still reported missing just in the Santa Rosa area, while 22 people are confirmed dead.
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