PG & E admits the probable cause of a deadly camp fire on a power line and announces heavy losses for 2018



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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – PG & E now admits that a power line outage was probably the cause of the devastating camp fire of last year, which killed 86 people and destroyed thousands of houses. In a document tabled Thursday with federal regulators, PG & E also expressed doubts about its ability to stay in business.

This news is related to the publication of the financial results of PG & E for 2018 – damage caused by forest fires have pushed in the red, recording a loss of $ 6.9 billion for the 39; year.

RELATED: PG & E planned in 2013 to repair the power line that may have started the campfire

The forest fire victim's lawyer, Dario de Ghitaldi, has photographs of Tower: 27/222 along the PG & E Caribou-Palermo high-voltage transmission line, which appears to have caused the accident. deadly camp fire in November.

"That caused sparks," says De Ghitaldi to the I-Team. "The sparks fell in the undergrowth and the fire started."

In its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, PG & E explained why this tower appeared to be the ignition point of Camp Fire:

On the morning of November 8, PG & E announced that the Caribou-Palermo transmission line was shut down at 6:15 am.

Fifteen minutes later, a PG & E employee found a fire in the vicinity of the tower: 27/222, and later in the day, an air patrol spotted an insulation that had separated from him. an arm on the tower.

CAL FIRE concluded that the campfire had started around 6:33 pm on the Caribou-Palermo transmission line.

On November 14, the company observed a broken C-hook containing insulation, wear at the connection point, a flash mark on the tower: 27/222 and other damage.

RELATED: PG & E rebate checks bounce due to temporary freeze of banks during bankruptcy proceedings

"If you look at the picture of the view going to the southwest, you can see that the mountain is set on fire," Ghitaldi told Dan Noyes of the I-Team team. "If you look at the view going to the northeast, no damage, then there is no doubt that it is there that the fire started, there is nothing else around that could have started the fire. "

Today, PG & E has announced that it "has performed more than two-thirds of the enhanced inspections of its 5,500 miles of transmission lines and about 50,000 transmission structures, including towers and poles in high risk fire zones "and should be completed by the end of March. Much of the work is done by drones, as shown in this video that PG & E sent to the I-Team on Thursday night.

But state senator Jerry Hill said today in Sacramento that PG & E should have made security improvements on the Caribou-Palermo line several years ago.

"PG & E had planned improvements on this line and postponed them," said state senator Jerry Hill of San Mateo. "They had the money for that, they spent the money for something else and they asked for it again and every year they were supposed to do it, they still have not started the work that had to be done on that line. "

PG & E confirmed today that its losses from forest fires in 2017 and 2018 could exceed $ 30 billion, and concluded: "Management has concluded that these circumstances raise serious doubts about the ability of PG & E Corporation and the utility company to continue their operations. "

Former state senator Noreen Evans is now a lawyer representing victims of forest fires. She told I-Team today: "The fact is that PG & E has caused this type of devastation for two consecutive years." Evans shared PG & E 's gloomy outlook for public service: "PG & E, in its current state, has a long history of explosions, water poisoning and air pollution. fire of communities, and its current structure is perhaps too imposing to regulate it is probably in the best interest of the public. "

RELATED: Judge states that PG & E violated the probation of the explosion of the 2010 San Bruno Pipeline

Cal Fire would not give the I-Team a period of time when their investigation will be completed. The spokesman said the process is time consuming and each fire is different.

See more stories, photos and videos on PG & E.

Take a look at more stories and videos from Dan Noyes and ABC7 News Team I.

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