PG&E Facing Criminal Charges Over 2019 California Wildfire


Zak Gaines

The massive fire, which burned through more than 77,000 acres of vegetation in Sonoma county, was ignited by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by PG&E in northeast Geyserville, a Cal fire investigation found.  The fire destroyed 374 structures, damaged another 60, and caused injuries.  Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch charged PG&E with five felonies and 28 misdemeanors Tuesday.

The charges including unlawfully started a fire that caused bodily injury, unlawfully burning inhabited structures, unlawfully causing a fire that burned forests, and various air pollution crimes, the District Attorney’s office said in a statement.

The utility has faced scrutiny in recent years over its equipment’s role in a spate of deadly and destructive California fires. Last summer, PG&E pleaded guilty to 85 counts, including involuntary manslaughter and unlawfully stating the campfire, the deadliest blaze in the state’s history.