SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of nearly 200 people alleging PG&E caused the Dixie Fire, the second-largest wildfire in California history.
The filing blames several blown fuses and PG&E equipment malfunctions off Highway 70 on July 13 in the Feather River Canyon region.
“It’s clear that PG&E started this fire. The best thing they can do is to acknowledge that fact and make the survivors whole,” Gerald Singleton, Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott attorney who is spearheading the litigation, said. “We’re committed to helping our clients get the resources they need to rebuild their homes and their lives, and we look forward to advancing these cases and serving as their advocate in court.”
Plaintiffs allege that a tree leaning into PG&E’s high voltage distribution line, which the blown fuses were designed to protect, caused the fire.
A power outage in the area was reported by PG&E’s outage system at 7 a.m. that day, but a PG&E repair person did not arrive to the scene until after 4 p.m., according to the filing.
In the complaint, SSMS attorney Gerald Singleton says PG&E has admitted its equipment malfunctions may have started the Dixie Fire, and subsequently the company announced a $15 billion plan to underground 10,000 miles of power lines to reduce wildfire risk in California.
The relief sought includes damages for repair, depreciation and replacement costs for real and property, loss of use, lost wages, medical expenses, evacuation expenses, among other general damages, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
The complaint includes causes of action for inverse condemnation, trespass, nuisance, negligence, and violations of Health and Safety Code section 13007 and Public Utilities Code section 2106.
The plaintiffs in this case, which include homeowners, renters and business owners, have joined their individual lawsuits into a single action, as opposed to a class action.