The Slatest

Lawsuit Alleges Deadly Camp Fire Was Caused by Pacific Gas & Electric Company Equipment

Abandoned and charred vehicles sit on the side of a road. An electrical pole leans dangerously. The air is hazy.
Abandoned vehicles on the side of a road in Paradise, California on November 09, 2018.
Josh Edelson/Getty Images

A class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday against Pacific Gas & Electric accused the utility company of being responsible for the devastating Camp Fire that killed at least 85 people and destroyed an entire town in Northern California in November.

According to USA Today, the complaint, filed by residents who lost their homes, alleges that “unsafe PG&E equipment” started the fire and that it could have been avoided if the company had “done their legal duty of safely operating and maintaining their power infrastructure.”

Cal Fire, which is investigating the fire’s origin, has not yet publicly identified the cause of the fire, but NBC Bay Area reported Wednesday night that authorities believe the failure of a steel hook holding a high voltage line on an old PG&E transmission tower is to blame.

According to NBC Bay Area, one of the lawyers suing PG&E claims that, given the age of many of the company’s towers—the one where the failure allegedly occurred was nearing a century of use—PG&E should have done a highly detailed inspection after a 2012 wind storm that caused five towers to collapse.