The death toll from the Camp Fire, in Butte County, already the worst California has ever seen in a wildfire, grew by six to 48 on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The fire in and around Paradise,California had destroyed a total of 8,817 structures — including 7,600 single family homes and 260 commercial buildings. 52,000 people remained evacuated in and around Paradise and 13,085 people remained sheltered. The cost of the damage is projected to be $15 billion or more.
Though the cause of the of Camp Fire — which has engulfed some 130,000 acres — remains under investigation, the Pacific Gas and Electric utility company (PG&E Co.) also said Tuesday that it submitted an “electric incident report” to the California Public Utilities Commission on Nov. 8, just before the wildfire about a problem with a high-voltage power line near the origin point. The report indicated a power failure on a transmission line in Butte Country at 6:15 a.m. PST that day. The fire was reported at approximately 6:30 a.m. PST, according to state records.
A woman who lives near the origin point of the fire said that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. emailed her before the fire broke out saying the utility needed to do repair work on equipment on or near her property because of “problems with the lines.” There was high wind and bone dry conditions at this time.
Additionally, PG&E Co. has had a “Community Wildfire Safety Program” protocol in place since the horrific fires in Sonoma and Napa in 2017 under which they were to turn off electricity to communities in high fire-threat areas when extreme fire danger conditions occur. The utility failed to implement this procedure despite knowing about the the high fire danger in Butte County and the problem with their transmission lines there before the fire broke out.
While the cause of the Camp Fire is still under investigation, if PG&E’s equipment is determined to be the cause, the PG&E could be subject to significant liability.
Our hearts go out to the thousands of victims of this hellish fire. The extent of deaths, injuries, loss of homes and destruction of virtually everything Butte County residents knew of their lives is almost too extreme to describe in words. That this tragic loss could probably have been prevented by PG&E Co. is a major breach of the public trust and may amount to gross-negligence.
The Rouda Law Firm has extensive experience representing victims against public entities and quasi-public entities like PG&E who knew but failed to remedy or protect against dangerous conditions within their control. These kinds of cases are complex and require the knowledge, technology and detail-orientedness the Rouda Law Firm is well-known for. We have recovered millions for our clients for these kinds of cases. We will leave no stone unturned to investigate and pinpoint the responsible parties for this tragic fire. We will maximize your potential for recovery for the loss of the lives of loved ones. We will vigorously pursue compensation for your or your friends and family members’ injuries from this fire. We will relentless pursue the full amount of the value of your home, compensation for your lost income, and for your inconvenience, grief, pain and suffering and emotional distress. We will always be by your side and available to talk during this difficult time. We strive to give hope after such calamities. We will go to the mat for you to make sure you have the best chance of being made whole.
If you, or a family member or friend has suffered a life altering injury or death, or loss of your home or property from the Butte County fire, please call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We will represent you at no cost to you. We do not charge a fee unless we obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor.
(L.E.) As of Thursday evening, the death toll from the fire had grown to 63 people and the list of missing had soared to 631. The fire had burned more than 140,000 acres.
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