PG&E Appears In Court To Answer To 31 Criminal Charges As A Result Of The Zogg Fire

The preliminary hearing for the criminal case against PG&E concerning the Zogg Fire is going to be a lengthy affair. The nation’s largest utility was arraigned last June on 31 criminal counts and enhancements, including four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett filed the charges in September of 2021, alleging that one year earlier, the Zogg Fire was sparked by PG&E electrical lines that were brought down by a Gray Pine tree that was marked for removal, but was not removed in time. The Zogg Fire burned more than 56,000 acres, destroyed more than 200 buildings and killed four residents as they tried to escape the flames. PG&E was already on probation for the San Bruno natural gas explosion and the Camp Fire in Paradise. California regulators have proposed fining Pacific Gas & Electric more than $155 Million for sparking the Zogg Fire. The preliminary hearing began Wednesday with Shasta County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors and PG&E attorneys both making opening statements and examining witnesses. The hearing is expected to take 3 to 4 weeks, after which the judge will decide if there’s enough evidence for the utility to stand trial.