SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. — Shasta County's District Attorney said Monday that her office is working with Cal Fire to determine if PG&E is responsible for Zogg Fire and what charges, including homicide, eventually could be brought.
Cal Fire seized parts from a PG&E-owned power line on Friday for its investigation to learn what caused the Zogg Fire, which killed four people and burned more than 50,000 acres in Shasta County, according to a disclosure made Friday to PG&E's investors.
Cal Fire took control of portions of the distribution line near the fire's point of origin to determine the fire's cause.
The agency declined to comment Friday, citing the ongoing investigation and referred reporters to the Shasta County district attorney's office, which would decide whether to pursue criminal charges based on the findings.
On Monday Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie A. Bridgett issued the following statement on the investigation:
“In answer to a number of inquiries, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office is working with Cal Fire investigators to determine the cause of the Zogg Fire and whether PG&E is responsible for that fire. Following that investigation, this office will carefully review all evidence to determine whether criminal charges, including homicide, are appropriate under the law.”
The Zogg Fire began near Zogg Mine Road and Jenny Bird Lane during windstorms on September 27.
PG&E says it does not have exact details of how or why its equipment came to the attention of fire investigators.
PG&E promised to make its proactive fire safety shutoffs smaller this year. It's also promised to stop sparking fires. Those two goals have been at odds ever since.
Here is what is known about the Zogg Fire and PG&E's potential role:
- The weather was windy
- Wind damage has caused PG&E distribution lines to spark fires due to tree damage, equipment failures, and lines slapping together
- Despite planned fire safety shutoffs in the region, PG&E did not shut off the power line in question
In 2019, the Kincade Fire, which burned down 300 homes, was determined to have been caused by PG&E, according to a Cal Fire investigation.
PG&E was convicted of crimes and/or paid civil damages for disasters that killed 139 Californians between 2010 to 2018.
This summer, PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter after its equipment started the Camp Fire, which nearly destroyed Paradise.