San Francisco utility sued for rash of deadly wildfires
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was blamed in three lawsuits filed Tuesday for negligence in the wildfires that killed more than 40 people and destroyed over 8,000 homes in Northern California last month.
The lawsuits allege the San Francisco-based utility and its parent PG&E Corp. put profits over safety by failing to trim trees and vegetation around power lines and didn't maintain aging equipment that contributed to the deadly series of wind-driven fires that broke out Oct. 8 and raged across several counties, including the heart of wine country.
The suits were filed on behalf of three couples who lost their homes in the fires, including former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, and a couple hospitalized after surviving the fire by floating in their swimming pool for hours and dunking underwater repeatedly to escape the extreme heat as flames blew around them and destroyed everything they owned.
"This calamity was preventable," attorney Frank Pitre said.
PG&E spokesman Donald Cutler said the lawsuit was based on assumptions because the investigation into the cause of the fires isn't complete. He also said the company's brush clearance meets or exceeds federal and state requirements and the company inspects power lines at least once a year.
The state Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention has not determined the cause of the fires yet, but said electrical equipment is one potential source. PG&E has said the state is investigating whether its power lines and equipment were a possible cause... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)