Lawsuit Claims Zogg Fire Started When Tree Fell On PG&E Equipment
Shasta and Tehama counties have sued PG&E, claiming the Zogg Fire started when “a gray pine fell and struck PG&E’s electrical infrastructure.”
The complaint notes that PG&E stated they believe “that the Gray Pine of interest may have been identified for removal during restoration efforts following the Carr Fire in 2018.”
“Despite having previously identified the tree for removal, the work was clearly never done,” the complaint states.
The complaint blames PG&E for the fire.
“PG&E repeatedly fails to inspect, maintain, repair, or replace its equipment or conduct property vegetation inspections and management. These failures also contributed to the Butte, North Bay, and Camp Fires, as well as the Zogg Fire at issue, yet PG&E continued to engage in the same course of dangerous behavior,” the complaint claims.
The complaint claims that PG&E failed to perform necessary maintenance, inspections, replacement and/or repair of electrical equipment, and failed to routinely perform necessary vegetation management inspections and action to make sure trees and other vegetation were properly cleared from electrical equipment.
The complaint blames PG&E’s corporate culture for this failure to maintain their equipment and the vegetation surrounding it.
“Rather than spend the money it obtains from customers for infrastructure maintenance and safety, PG&E redirects this funding to boost its own corporate profits and compensation,” the complaint claims.
The complaint notes that PG&E was directed by the CPUC in 2014 to take remedial measures to reduce fire risks.
The complaint contains a long list of incidents which it attributes to PG&E’s “safety lapses,” including the 1981 San Francisco gas explosion, the 1992 Santa Rosa gas explosion, the 1994 Trauner Fire, the 1996 Mission Substation electrical fire, the 1999 Pendola Fire, the 2003 Mission Substation electrical fire, the 2004 Sims Fire, the 2004 Fred’s Fire, the 2004 Power Fire, the 2005 San Francisco electrical explosion, the 2008 Rancho Cordova gas explosion, the 2008 Whiskey Fire, the 2009 San Francisco Electrical Explosion, the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion, the 2014 Carmel gas explosion, the 2015 San Francisco electrical explosion, the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay fires and the 2018 Camp Fire.
The complaint seeks to recover damages based on numerous causes of action, including:
- Inverse condemnation
- Premises liability
- Negligence per se
- Private action under Public Utilities Code § 2106
- Violation of Health & Safety Code § 13007, et seq.
- Violation of Health & Safety Code § 13009, et seq.
The Zogg Fire burned about 56,000 acres in Shasta and Tehama counties and the towns of Igo and Ono, destroyed 204 buildings and resulted in the deaths of four people, according to the complaint.
PG&E said in a filing Friday it is “probable” it will incur a loss regarding the Zogg Fire, and they expect a loss of at least $275 million.