Utility Tower May Have Sparked the Southern California Fire


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As California reels from the devastation of the recent Camp Fire, investigators think they may found found the spark, reports The Mercury News.  A malfunctioning PG&E transmission tower has been identified as a potential source of the ignition for the deadly blaze.  Lawyers say a piece of the tower has been removed for study as part of the probe in the cause. That piece is an arm designed to help transfer power on the 115 volt transmission line.

Records indicate the tower was first put into operation in 1919. A brutal winter storm in 2012, battered the tower with 55 mph winds, which were strong enough to knock over five other towers on the same line. Attorney Frank Pitre questions why this tower was allowed to remain in operation. “Given the age of the equipment that failed in 2012, a thorough evaluation of the integrity of the entire line should have been done in order to decide if additional equipment along the line should have been replaced,” he said. “It could have corroded from the inside out, like a cancer.”

The California Public Utilities Commission reported a failure on the Caribou-Palermo line serviced by the damaged tower about 15 minutes before the fire was reported on November 8. “The physical evidence taken by Cal Fire will reveal the mechanism of failure,” Pitre stated.  Comments? Email Us.

December 13, 2018

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