PG&E could face criminal charges for 2020’s Zogg Fire

SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. – A California prosecutor says her office will file criminal charges against Pacific Gas and Electric for a deadly wildfire in 2020.

Four people died and about 200 homes were burned in the Zogg Fire in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in September 2020. Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett says PG&E equipment sparked the fire. Bridgett expects to file the charges before September.

PG&E has reached settlements with local governments. In a statement, the company said the loss of life is “heartbreaking” and the company “continues to reach settlements with individual victims and their families impacted by the Zogg Fire in an effort to make it right. We do not, however, agree with the district attorney’s conclusion that criminal charges are warranted given the facts of this case.”

PG&E pleaded guilty to more than 80 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed 10,000 homes and nearly the entire town of Paradise.

The utility filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019.

PG&E stated, “The loss of life and devastation in the communities impacted by the 2020 Zogg Fire is heartbreaking, and we recognize that nothing can heal the hearts of those who have lost so much. We thank the courageous first responders who saved lives, protected property and worked to contain and put out the fire last year.

“The company already has resolved civil claims with Shasta County and continues to reach settlements with individual victims and their families impacted by the Zogg Fire in an effort to make it right. We do not, however, agree with the District Attorney’s conclusion that criminal charges are warranted given the facts of this case.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to keep our customers and communities safe.

“PG&E Corporation Chief Executive Officer Patti Poppe said, ‘I came to PG&E earlier this year to ensure that we make it right for those who have been impacted, and make it safe for the communities we are privileged to serve. We have taken a safety stand that everyone and everything is always safe, and we are determined to deliver on that promise.’”

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