California’s leading electric utility company has agreed to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.
Under a plea agreement with the Butte County District Attorney the Pacific Gas and Electric Company also plead guilty to one county of unlawfully starting a fire.
“On Nov. 8, 2018, the Camp Fire destroyed the towns of Paradise and Concow, impacted Magalia and other parts of Butte County and took the lives of more than 80 people,” PG&E CEO and president Bill Johnson said. “Thousands lost their homes and businesses. Many others were forced to evacuate and leave their lives behind.
“Our equipment started the fire. Those are the facts, and with this plea agreement we accept responsibility for our role in the fire.”
The company will pay $4 million in fines including the expenses related to the District Attorney’s investigation, a PG&E press release states. PG&E has also agreed to fund efforts to restore access to water for the next five years for residents impacted by the loss of the Miocene Canal, which was destroyed by the fire.
The settlement, subject to approval by the Butte County Superior Court and the federal bankruptcy court overseeing PG&E’s Chapter 11 filing, ends all criminal proceedings against the company.
PG&E previously reached settlements with victims of the wildfires in 2015, 2017 and 2018, totaling nearly $25 million.