REDDING, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric has been charged with manslaughter and other crimes in a Northern California wildfire last year that killed four people and destroyed hundreds of homes.
Investigators determined that aging equipment belonging to the nation's largest utility sparked the Zogg Fire last September near the city of Redding.
Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett announced the 31 charges, including 11 felonies, on Friday. She said in July that her office had determined that PG&E was "criminally liable" for the fire.
It is the latest action against the utility, which pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter over a 2018 blaze in the town of Paradise that was ignited by its long-neglected electrical grid. It was the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century.
Company officials have acknowledged that PG&E hasn’t lived up to expectations in the past but said changes in leadership and elsewhere ensure it’s on the right track and will do better. They have listed a wide range of improvements that include using more advanced technology to avoid setting wildfires and help detect them quicker.
Pushed by strong winds, the Zogg Fire raged through the rugged Sierra Nevada and communities, killing four and burning about 200 homes.