REDDING (CBS SF) — Officials with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. confirmed on Friday that Cal Fire has taken possession of equipment owned by the utility as part of an investigation into the cause of the fatal Zogg Fire in Shasta County.
According to a statement issued Friday afternoon, the utility “filed an Electric Incident Report (EIR) with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) when PG&E learned that Cal Fire had taken possession of PG&E equipment as part of Cal Fire’s investigation into the cause of the Zogg Fire in Shasta County.”
That incident report revealed that on September 27, the day the Zogg Fire started, “a PG&E SmartMeter and a line recloser serving that area reported alarms and other activity between approximately 2:40 p.m. and 3:06 p.m., when the line recloser de-energized that portion of the circuit.”
The incident report also noted that PG&E does not have access to any evidence collected by Cal Fire and that the agency “has not issued a determination as to cause.”
Pacific Gas and Electric spokesperson James Noonan emphasized in an email “that the information is preliminary and we are cooperating with Cal Fire’s investigation.”
Cal Fire determined PG&E equipment was the cause of the deadly Camp Fire in 2018, that killed 84 people, as well as the Kincade Fire, in 2019. The utility was forced into bankruptcy by the enormous fines and settlements it had to pay in connection with those fires and only emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last July.
Since then, PG&E has instituted its policy of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), de-energizing transmission lines in areas during periods of heightened fire danger, in an effort to prevent its equipment from becoming a source of ignition.
Earlier Friday, the Shasta County Coroner’s office identified the remaining two victims killed in the Zogg Fire, as crews approached full containment of the 56,000-acre blaze.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the following information released by the Shasta County Sheriff's Coroner office regarding victims of the #ZoggFire. Our hearts go out to the friends and families. @CALFIRESHU pic.twitter.com/jeZxFxgz4f
— Shasta Co. Sheriff (@ShastaSheriff) October 8, 2020
County officials say 45-year-old Alaina Michelle Rowe and her daughter died on Sept. 27, as they tried to escape the Zogg Fire when the flames reached the small town of Igo, just west of Redding. KRCR News confirmed Rowe was with the 8-year-old when their bodies were discovered the next day.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office previously identified the other two victims as 79-year-old Karin King and 52-year-old Kenneth Vossen. According to officials, Vossen died at a nearby hospital on Sept. 29, while King was found dead on Zogg Mine Road, where officials believe the wildfire started.
All four victims were residents of Igo.
The Zogg Fire began in the afternoon on Sept. 27, and by nighttime had grown to 10,000 acres. As of Friday, it was at 56,338 acres and 95% contained. The blaze has destroyed more than 200 buildings.