BUTTE COUNTY, Calif.- Butte County District attorney, Mike Ramsey held a news conference on Tuesday regarding PG&E's guilty plea.
An investigation into the cause of the fire began almost immediately after the Camp Fire ripped through Butte County on November 8th, 2018.
Cal Fire arson investigators went to where a fire captain reported seeing the start of the fire. They found a PG&E transmission tower showing clear signs of the fire’s beginning. A special butte county grand jury was sworn in March of 2018.
For a year they sifted through evidence and listened to witnesses while trying to determine if there was truly a criminal liability for anyone causing the Camp Fire.
The tower was also dismantled and officials took portions for evidence. Forensic analysis revealed significant wear and a prior repair which helped prove PG&E's guilt.
The grand jury met in secrecy for a year, heard almost 100 witnesses and reviewed approximately 1,600 exhibits before returning the indictment.
According to the indictment report that was released by the D.A. for the first time on Tuesday, the utility giant could pay more than $3 million.
PG&E plead guilty to one count of causing the Camp Fire as a result of its gross negligence in maintaining its power line.
However, the big charge is the 84 individual counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The utility also pleaded guilty to causing great bodily injury to a firefighter and two other people as well as causing almost 19 thousand structures to burn.
The report says that based on all of the findings the court should impose the greatest sentence allowed under the law, which is the maximum fines of $10,000 for each of the 84 counts of manslaughter and the maximum fine of $50,000 for the count of
unlawfully causing a fire. The rest of the $3.4 million is made up of other fines and fees.
PG&E, who had been represented by the criminal defense attorneys, was informed of the indictment and decided to plead guilty “as charged” to all counts, thereby agreeing the evidence of its criminal negligence has been established beyond a reasonable doubt.
Ramsey says now the company will be monitored to make sure they are doing everything they are supposed to as far as maintaining and improving its equipment.
He says any mistakes could cause individuals to be liable in the future.
PG&E also has to pay $15 million over the next 5 years to put water back into the Miocene Canal.
Read the Camp Fire Public Report released by District Attorney Mike Ramsey, HERE.