Santa Rosa, CA – April 20, 2021 – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PGE”) was arraigned earlier today in the Sonoma County Superior Court on a 33-count criminal complaint alleging that it recklessly caused the 2019 Kincade Fire, which burned approximately 78,000 acres, and destroyed 374 structures, including 174 homes. The fire that started on the night of October 23, 2019 at the Geysers Geothermal Field northeast of Geyserville resulted in the largest evacuation in the history of Sonoma County, including the entire towns of Healdsburg, Windsor and Geyserville.
The criminal complaint filed in front of the Honorable Mark Urioste charges PG&E with unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in great bodily injury, unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of inhabited structures, and unlawfully causing a fire that resulted in the burning of forest land, as well as various air pollution crimes.
In court this afternoon PG&E announced that it intends to file a demurrer to counts 11 through 33, those allegations claiming the company violated California’s air pollution laws. In a criminal case a demurrer is most commonly used to argue that the facts as stated in the criminal complaint do not constitute a crime.
In response to the notice of intent to demurrer, the court set a date of May 11th for PG&E to file the demurrer with a date to return to court on May 25th to set a date for argument on the matter.
Residents who suffered injury, illness, or damaged property due to the Kincade Fire, are encouraged contact the District Attorney’s Office at (707) 565-5317 or ECLD@sonoma-county.org.
Please note that criminal charges are allegations against individuals and, as with all defendants, the defendant must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.