David Baker reported in the November 2, 2017 edition of the SF Chronicle that PG&E reclosers, which are designed to restart themselves if power goes off by shooting pulses of electricity through lines that tripped off, may have contacted branches or brush starting the widespread fires.

According to Sen Jerry Hill (San Mateo) whose committee work has investigated past fires in California “Frankly, not turning off the reclosers could have started many if not all of the fires”

According to Baker: “PG&E’s North Bay reclosers that were not part of the pilot program were set to try to restart their lines 1 to 3 times, Stephens (PG&E spokesman) said. If the lines did not respond properly after that, the reclosers were programmed to lock down the lines and keep the power off.

“Blocking reclosers from automatically restarting lines is one of several ways California utilities have tried to prevent wildfires. Placing some lines underground and swapping out wooden poles for steel ones are others.”

This is a Chronicle drawing of how the reclosers are designed to work.

 

This is a Chronicle drawing of how the reclosers are designed to work.

Previously the SF Chronicle reported on November 1, 2017 that one PG&E report “describes a 60 foot tall eucalyptus tree in Kenwood toppling over and taking three power lines to the ground”.

The Brandi Law Firm has had a number of cases against PG&E in the past, ranging from the San Bruno Fire Case to actions involving inspections of their systems leading to injury and death.  The California Public Utility Commission has numerous regulations pertaining to PG&E conduct including General Order 95 that details requirements for all lines, clearances, minimum safety factors, etc. PG&E also faces liability based on Inverse Condemnation. (See Our Previous Blog)

We are a firm with roots in the community that has long served people in the affected areas.  We have clients who have lost their homes from the fires in Atlas Peak, Soda Canyon, Kenwood, Fountain Grove, and Coffey Park.  We are available to help you with the numerous questions that will arise regarding this process and holding accountable those responsible.

If you feel you have been damaged by the Wine Country Fires (the Tubbs Fire, Patrick Fire, Atlas Peak Fire, or Nuns Fires), please contact us at 800-425-1986 and ask for Thomas Brandi.  We are available free of charge to discuss your situation.