Nearly four months after California’s most devastating wildfire swept through Paradise and surrounding towns, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has acknowledged that its equipment probably sparked the blaze that destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and killed 85 people, most of them elderly.
The official investigation into the cause of the Butte County blaze is continuing, but the utility said Thursday that “the company believes it is probable that its equipment will be determined to be an ignition point of the 2018 Camp fire.”
PG&E has already filed for bankruptcy protection due to losses from the Nov. 8 fire, which scorched more than 153,000 acres and has placed new pressure on utilities to improve the safety of their power distribution systems.
Scores of lawsuits have been filed against the state’s biggest utility on behalf of people whose loved ones were killed, whose pets disappeared into the blazing wilderness and who lost everything they owned. They accuse the utility of failing to properly maintain its equipment.