CAL Fire investigation says PG&E to blame for Kincade Fire

Bay Area

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — CAL Fire investigators have determined the cause of the Kincade Fire that started in October 2019 and burned more than 77,000 acres in Sonoma County.

CAL Fire says the Kincade Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned by PG&E, located northeast of Geyserville.

The fire burned a total of 77,758 acres, destroyed 374 structures and caused four non-life threatening injuries.

“We knew a year ago that it was PG&E’s equipment that started the fire,” Wildfire victims attorney Mike Danko said. “We knew just like the Camp Fire that it was a jumper cable that came loose from PG&E’s high voltage transmission line.”

Speaking to KRON4 shortly after CAL Fire released the cause of the fire, Danko says the victims want answers.

“The victims want to know is certainly why? Why did the equipment fail, why did PG&E not turn off the power? Why did we basically get into this situation,” Danko said. “Did PG&E learn nothing from the Camp Fire and that’s probably why CAL Fire has referred the matter to the district attorney.”

The fire broke out the night of Oct. 23, 2019.

Dry vegetation and strong winds along with low humidity and warm temperatures contributed to the extreme rates of fire spread.

Luis Barajas watched the flames go up near his Geyserville home.

“Looking at all the fire up on the hills we said ‘whoa what happened’ and we were trying to figure out what happened and everyone said PG&E had something blowing up, some transformers blown up up in the hills, that’s what I heard,” Barajas said.

PG&E released a statement Thursday in response to CAL Fire’s investigation.

“We appreciate all the heroic efforts of the first responders who fought the 2019 Kincade Fire, helped local citizens evacuate and made sure no one perished in the fire.We are aware of CAL FIRE’s news release stating that PG&E facilities caused the fire. At this time, we do not have access to CAL FIRE’s investigative report or the evidence it has collected. We look forward to reviewing both at the appropriate time. We want our customers and communities to know that safety is our most important responsibility and that we are working hard every day to reduce wildfire risk throughout our service area.”

CAL Fire’s Kincade Fire investigative report has been forwarded to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

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