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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Product Liability on Thursday, October 26, 2017.
Will PG&E be held responsible?

The Northern California wildfires are responsible for at least 41 deaths and the destruction of over 8,400 homes and buildings.  Over 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes.  The fires have caused more than $1 billion in damage according to the state’s insurance commissioner and that number could rise as fire crews continue to assess damage in scorched areas.  The bulk of the destruction was in Santa Rosa where the Tubbs fire hit major residential areas.

PG&E may be responsible. This wouldn’t be the first time PG&E’s negligence contributed to a catastrophic fire.

The California’s Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation into PG&E to determine whether it bears responsibility for the fires.  The company has been sued for its roles in previous fires and explosions.

PG&E’s lack of maintenance of power lines could be a potential cause or contributing factor to the fires.  A number of electrical fires were reported when the fires initially broke out.  911 dispatchers received 10 calls about sparks coming from PG& E power lines.

Many of PG&E’s power lines had toppled from the wind and falling trees during the firestorms.

California law requires that power lines remain at least 4 feet away from branches.  An investigation should determine what state and internal PG&E inspections revealed in the years and months prior to the fires and whether PG&E knew and overlooked dangerous trees being overgrown and too close to power lines.  Further, an investigation of the trees and vegetation surrounding the power lines could reveal whether unstable trees located near the base of the power lines and overgrown tree branches and vegetation could have ignited during contact between trees and power lines during the heavy winds.

The Butte Fire that began Sept. 9, 2015, destroyed more than 500 Calaveras County homes as well as hundreds of barns, sheds, and houses. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection concluded that a tree trimming crew hired by PG&E failed to remove a gray pine that later fell, contacted a power line, and started the fire.

PG&E had a responsibility to keep its lines safe in high winds. PG&E actively opposed safety measures meant to keep its lines safe in high wind, high fire risk areas in North Bay. Source

Kristensen LLP has been retained to represent homeowners who lost their property in this matter. We are currently accepting cases from families and other victims harmed or affected by these devastating fires.  John Kristensen practiced for years at one of the premier plaintiffs’ law firms in the Bay Area.  Please call Kristensen at 310-507-7924 or send an e-mail to for a free consultation.