In a long-awaited report, state investigators said Thursday that a 2017 forest fire that killed 22 people in the Northern California wine country was caused by a private electrical system and not by the contested Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation.
The State Fire Authority came to the conclusion that the fire started next to a residence. Violations of the state law were not found.
"I have eliminated all other causes of the Tubbs fire, except for an electric fire triggered by an unknown event affecting a private conductor or private equipment," CalFire Battalion Chief John Martinez wrote in his report.
Some details about the property, including owner and address, have been blacked out from the report. The property in Napa County, about 5 kilometers north of Calistoga, was built in 1
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PG & E previously identified the owner of the Napa County Complex as Ann Zink. In lawsuits, the company said zinc has a private system to power other buildings, as well as appliances such as a water pump and water storage.
The efforts to reach their Thursday were unsuccessful.
PG & E has said so before Next week's petition for bankruptcy, claiming $ 30 billion in potential claims related to other deadly calamities, for which he was found to be in debt.
The company stated in a statement that, despite Thursday's findings, it "is still facing extensive litigation, significant potential liabilities and a worsening financial situation."
Gov. Gavin Newson said his office estimates that more than half of PG & E's expected damage was due to the fire of the winery.
Newsom said his goal was to make the victims a whole and that the state have a "safe, reliable and affordable service". and these fee payers "do not pay the price of neglect" of PG & E founded in earlier forest fires.
"I imagine you will hear a lot of people questioning aspects of it, and they will be worried and filled with some anxiety," he said. "I can not tell you what we can do under these circumstances, because this is a question for lawyers, judges and potential juries and the prospects for mediators and settlement."
Legal experts say PG & E's decision is not to blame The devastating fire is unlikely to prevent the planned bankruptcy.
The company is still facing potential billions of dollars of damage from other forest fires, including the November fire in Paradise, which left at least 86 dead and deadly in the US in the last century.
Bankruptcy would also give the company space to formulate a plan to prevent its equipment from causing further catastrophic fires in the future.
Michael Kelly, lawyer for victims of the fire, said The results would not have much impact on the lawsuits he had filed.
"We will stick with our weapons," Kelly said, adding that there are still questions as to why PG & E did not disrupt the area. Desp There is a high risk of fire. He said that there is evidence that contradicts the findings of the state fire investigators.
Trading of the shares of PG & E Corp. was stopped twice after news of the cause of the fire had triggered a buying impulse. As trading resumed, the price soared, closing at $ 13.35 per share at $ 5.96, or nearly 75 percent.
Just because a private electric wire has caused the land fire of wine, the electricity supplier can not disregard its role in other devastating fire equipment, said Senator Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat and more often a critic of PG & E.  "This underlines the idea that we all have a role to play in preventing forest fires," Dodd said in a statement. 19659002] PG & E announced on January 2 that it believed that a craftsman carrying out unlicensed electrical work triggered Land Land Fire on the zinc property. The utility said it was not responsible for maintaining or inspecting the private system. Zink, 91, told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2017 that her home was vacant at the time of the fire and she was in her other home in Riverside County when the flame began.
In the Thursday report, a witness reported that a transformer had exploded. Another reported that the fire was approaching a PG & E power pole.
One of the witnesses, Charlie Brown Jr. of Calistoga, said the electrical cables that run from Zinc's property had not been used for years.