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Shasta, Tehama counties file lawsuit against PG&E for Zogg Fire damages

Shasta and Tehama counties announced they filed suit Thursday against Pacific Gas & Electric Company and PG&E Corporation for injuries and damages to public resources caused by the Zogg Fire.

Posted: Dec 10, 2020 1:25 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2020 7:02 PM

UPDATE, 6:52 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 - Two Northern California counties are suing PG&E over Zogg Fire damages.

Both Shasta and Tehama County are claiming PG&E’s negligence caused the Zogg Fire. They say PG&E failed to remove a tree identified for removal. They also claim that the same tree came into contact with PG&E's utility lines and that started the Zogg Fire.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, also claims negligence on the part of PG&E as well as nuisance, trespassing
And other health and safety violations.

John Fiske, who represents both Shasta and Tehama County, tells Action News Now the utility company needs to step up.

“It's really the responsibility of PG&E to step up and help become part of the solution in rebuilding the community rather than playing games and litigation,” said Fiske.

People tell Action News Now if PG&E is responsible then they should pay.

“I think if the facts show that they are truly liable and responsible, then they need to be held responsible for it,” said Kathleen Evans of Igo.

“I know that a lot of people are trying to recover.”

In a statement, PG&E said, "Based on the current state of the law of inverse condemnation in California, and the facts and circumstances available to us today, we believe it is probable PG&E Corporation and PG&E will incur a financial loss in connection with the Zogg Fire.”

The utility company adds it remains focused on reducing wildfire risk across its service area and making its electric system more resilient to the climate-driven challenges.

While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, PG&E says it is fully cooperating with Cal Fire

On Friday morning, PG&E filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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REDDING, Calif. – Shasta and Tehama counties announced they filed suit Thursday against Pacific Gas & Electric Company and PG&E Corporation for injuries and damages to public resources caused by the Zogg Fire.

The Zogg Fire ignited on September 27, 2020, near Zogg Mine Road and Jenny Bird Lane in Shasta County.

The suit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court and alleges that PG&E’s negligence caused the fire because PG&E failed to remove a gray pine previously identified for removal, according to the counties. The suit alleges that the gray pine contacted PG&E’s electrified utility lines, starting a blaze that burned approximately 56,000 acres in two counties, destroyed or damaged over 200 buildings, and killed four people.

RELATED: Redding law firm files against PG&E, claiming negligence for starting the Zogg Fire

On November 18, 2020, in papers filed in an unrelated federal court case, the company indicated it also believes that the gray pine may have been the cause of the fire based on records PG&E reviewed concerning the work.

Representatives of the counties in this suit say this action is to recover costs incurred and to reimburse the Counties for damage suffered as a result of the Zogg Fire. The public should not have to bear the burden of these costs and damages when PG&E is responsible for causing the fire.

The lawsuit details PG&E’s legal liability, including under causes of action such as inverse condemnation, negligence, nuisance, trespass, and violations under certain California state statutes.

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