PG&E charged with manslaughter for Zogg Fire in northern California

Zogg Fire, Sept. 27, 2020. CAL FIRE photo.

In March investigators with CAL FIRE determined that the Zogg Fire which burned 56,338 acres, destroyed 204 structures, and caused four civilian fatalities, was caused by a tree contacting a power line operated by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). In late September, The utility company was charged with manslaughter and other charges.

Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett announced the 31 charges, including 11 felonies, against PG&E, saying it failed to perform its legal duties and that its “failure was reckless and criminally negligent, and it resulted in the death of four people.”

If the utility is convicted of manslaughter, the punishment would be a fine for each person killed in the Zogg Fire last year southwest of Redding, California.

Zogg Fire soon after it started, looking east from Ducket at 3:32 p.m. PDT Sept. 27, 2020. AlertWildfire.

Last year PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for starting the Camp Fire which destroyed most of the town of Paradise and became the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.

The company has admitted that their equipment may have ignited the Dixie Fire which has burned more than 600 residences and 963,000 acres near Susanville, California. At least two firefighters died of COVID-19 while assigned to the fire.

Map of the Zogg Fire October 9, 2020.

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