Beginning on November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire ignited near Pulga, California and quickly spread throughout Butte County, burning more than 153,336 acres and demolishing the Northern California town of Paradise as tens-of-thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes to escape the firestorm. At least 85 people have been killed, over 18,793 homes and structures destroyed, and nearly one dozen people remain missing as these communities and residents begin to assess their losses following the deadly Camp Fire.
The cause of the Camp Fire is under investigation by state regulators and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has said it’s looking into the possibility that the fire was sparked by electrical equipment – an indication that state regulators are investigating Pacific Gas & Electric (“PG&E”) and its equipment as the point of origin of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s recorded history.
The lives of Butte County residents, as well as the landscape of the communities they call home, has irrevocably changed as a result of the Camp Fire. Those responsible for causing the fire and the devastating losses suffered by residents in Paradise, California and surrounding communities must be held accountable for their negligence.
Attorneys with Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and the law firms of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, and Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, have come together to investigate and prosecute claims for which Pacific Gas & Electric is responsible.
Together, this consortium of law firms has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of fire victims who have suffered total property loss or loss of a loved one. Attorneys currently serve in leadership roles as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel and on the Executive Committee in the 2017 North Bay Fires litigation against PG&E and in the Southern California Fire Cases against SCE as a result of the Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flows in Montecito, California.
Additionally, members of this consortium have led the charge for victims impacted by the 2010 San Bruno Explosion as well as the 2015 Butte Fire in Amador County, and currently serve as Co-Lead Trial Counsel in the fight against Southern California Gas Company following the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history in Porter Ranch, California. The catastrophic losses suffered by victims of each of these tragedies were a direct result of a utility’s failure to properly maintain its equipment and utility lines
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is one of the nation’s largest natural gas and electric utilities, serving a population of approximately 16 million people in a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California. The San Francisco-based utility has a history of noncompliance with state law that requires the company to properly maintain its equipment and existing power lines in order to reduce the potential risk of fire.
In 2017, CAL Fire investigative reports linked PG&E to at least 16 wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt, Butte and Lake counties during the October firestorm including the Sulphur, Blue, Norrbom, Partrick, Pythian, Adobe, Pocket and Atlas which were referred to the appropriate county’s District Attorneys’ offices for further review due to evidence of alleged violations of state law. Many of the North Bay Fires were caused by trees coming into contact with electric power and distribution lines, conductors and the failure of power poles associated with PG&E.
While the process of recovering compensation for damages sustained as a result ofthe Camp Fire may be long, the consortium of law firms have the resources to see the matter to conclusion. Their combined experience includes prosecution of wildland and wildfires caused by a utilities power lines, with attorneys specializing in wrongful death, catastrophic injury and property damage litigation. Companies like Pacific Gas & Electric must be held accountable for their actions.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients owe no costs or attorney’s fee unless we obtain a recovery for them. Contact a member of the Wildfire Victim Advocates consortium at 866-828-6421 to schedule a free consultation.