Sonora, CA — A U.S. judge overseeing a criminal case involving Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) is asking the utility to explain any role it may have played in the deadly Camp Fire.
Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ordered PG&E in a court filing on today to respond to a series of questions about power line safety and wildfires. He is the judge overseeing a jury verdict and sentence against PG&E after a natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes eight years ago. Investigators have not determined the cause of the Camp Fire that burnt down the town of Paradise and killing at least 88 people. However, there is speculation regarding a PG&E power outage around the time and place the fire ignited.
In regards to the San Bruno blast, part of the sentence includes a five-year probation period that requires an independent monitor to oversee the safety of the utility’s gas pipeline system. The judge said he wants to determine whether that sentence might be implicated if any wildfire were started by reckless operation or maintenance of company power lines.
PG&E spokeswoman Erin Garvey shares that the utility was aware of Alsup’s notice and was reviewing it, stating, “We continue to focus on assessing infrastructure, safely restoring power where possible and helping our customers recover and rebuild.”