Woman called about power line issue day before deadly fire
Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 1:52 PM - California is in the midst of a series of devastating wildfires that, at the time of this writing, have contributed to at least 42 deaths and destroyed more than 7,500 homes.
The largest fire impacting the region has been dubbed the "Camp Fire" -- and while the exact cause of it remains under investigation, a new report suggests equipment owned by utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) may have contributed.
CBS 13 has obtained a report from the company describing an incident that occurred 28 minutes before firefighters received the first call about the fast-spreading fire.
"PG&E experienced an outage on the Caribou-Palermo...Transmission line in Butte County," reads the report in part.
It also makes note of a damaged power line in the area where the fire started.
"The cause of the fire has not been determined," a company spokesperson said via CNN.
PG&E is working with first responders on the fire lines to turn off power as they would during any wildfire emergency."
In an email to the Associated Press (AP), PG&E says it provided an “initial electric incident report” with state regulators and will "fully cooperate" with investigations.
WOMAN CLAIMS SHE WAS CONTACTED ABOUT FAULTY POWER LINE PRIOR TO THE FIRE
AP is reporting PG&E contacted a homeowner about accessing her property to repair a power line that was causing sparks, one day before the fire ignited.
Betsy Ann Crowley says she was on vacation when she received a call from the company last Wednesday. She says officials visited her property that day but wasn't updated on their findings because she was out of town.
Prior to the fire, PG&E announced its intention to shut down power in nine counties due to extreme fire risk, but never followed through. The Utility later said it decided against the cut because the weather conditions did not warrant one:
PG&E has been linked to at several California wildfires: A 2014 blazed which killed two people and destroyed 475 buildings, along with several 2017 fires that killed 44 people in northern California, AP reports.
(RELATED: Latest updates on the California wildfires)
On Monday, fire investigators declared Crowley's incinerated property a crime scene and barred anyone from entering, including PG&E officials.