PG&E to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2018 California fires
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has said it will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter for its role in the 2018 California wildfires.
PG&E is to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2018 fire in Northern California that killed 84 people and tore through three towns.
The utility said in a statement it will also admit to a single count of unlawfully starting a fire.
Under a plea agreement with the Butte County District Attorney’s office, PG&E will pay the maximum fine of about $4 million.
The company has also agreed to fund efforts to restore access to water for the next five years for residents impacted by the loss of a canal destroyed by the fire.
“Our equipment started the fire. Those are the facts, and with this plea agreement we accept responsibility for our role in the fire,” PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson said.
The blaze that destroyed the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow was started by sparks from a PG&E transmission line that failed on November 8, 2018, state investigators concluded.
The utility filed for bankruptcy in 2018 as it faced billions of dollars in claims from people who lost family members, homes and businesses in wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
Photo (for illustrative purposes): Fire crew member fighting Poomacha wildfire / FEMA / Wikimedia / Public Domain