A wildfire can take a serious toll on you, your family, and your business

The Kincade Fire started on October 23, 2019 at 9:27 PM. While the official cause of the fire is still under investigation by CALFIRE, it is believed to have been started by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) lines that arced and ignited the dry tinder below them. The fire was fully contained by November 6 at 7:00 PM. The fire burned 77,758 acres. It destroyed 374 structures and injured 4 people. Lawsuits are now underway to compensate victims of the Kincade Fire for wrongful deathpersonal injuriesproperty lossbusiness loss, and other legal damages.

Kincade fire map

Kincade Fire Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one were affected by the Kincade Fire, contact an experienced attorney at Singleton Schreiber to learn about the Kincade Fire compensation and to understand your legal options.

The Kincade Fire Lawsuit Against PG&E

Early evidence points to faulty or poorly maintained PG&E equipment as the cause of the fire. The fire started at the same moment that a 230,000-volt transmission line failed near John Kincade Road and Burned Mountain Road in The Geysers, northeast of Geyserville. “Despite the latest shutdowns, PG&E admitted last week that its equipment may have started the Kincade fire,” said the San Jose Mercury News in an editorial. Lawsuits for losses are based on the knowledge that PG&E lines will be blamed for this fire.

The Facts of the Kincade Fire

  • The fire started on October 3, 2019 at 9:24 PM during a high wind event
  • According to PG&E reports, there was a failure in a 230k-volt transmission line at that time
  • The high winds pushed the fire quickly and burned 77,758 acres in just three days
  • Fire crews were able to contain the fire in less that 75 hours
  • On October 28, PG&E began shutting off power to customers to avoid more fires
  • Over 3 million we left without power in the Sonoma county area
  • Investigations are ongoing in both the fire and the power shutoffs
  • The fire burned over 100 square miles of land and destroyed 374 structures
  • This was the largest fire in Sonoma County history
  • Over 90,000 homes were threatened
  • Hundreds of thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate
  • Most of Sonoma County and part of Lake County were ordered to evacuate
  • The Kincade Fire was the largest of the 2019 fire season in California
  • Four people were injured during the fire
  • There are no reports of fatalities

The Kincade Fire in Detail

As incredible as it might seem, the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County burned 66,231 acres of forest and scrubland in just four days.

Over 80,000 homes were threatened by the fire and mandatory evacuations are in place.

The Kincade Fire might be the first test of a fund set up by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to pay for damages caused by their equipment if the company is found responsible.

While there is no official declaration of the cause of the fire in Sonoma County, preliminary reports indicate that it began directly beneath a PG&E transmission line tower. No determination has been made, so there is no evidence of wrongdoing or issues at this time.

One hundred mile per hour winds over the first weekend drove the fire to over 60,000 acres. While there is no official count from Cal Fire, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that over 96 structures, including 49 homes, have been destroyed.

As of October 28, the fire was threatening the Shiloh community which burned just two years earlier in The Tubbs Fire of 2017.

Over 185,000 people had been evacuated from the area as of the time of this writing.

The fire caused the loss of power to over 1 million residents in Northern California. PG&E crews had been dispatched to inspect lines before power could be restored.

The Cause of the Kincade Fire

“CAL Fire has determined that the Kincade Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electric located northeast of Geyserville,” state fire officials said.

“Tinder-dry vegetation and strong winds combined with low humidity and warm temperatures contributed to extreme rates of fire spread” in the case of the Kincade Fire, CAL Fire stated.

Alarmed by the string of deadly wildfires, coming years after a fatal gas explosion in San Bruno that PG&E caused, state government officials have approved contingency plans to be able to oust PG&E as the region’s primary provider of electricity and gas services.

A new law would enable California to replace PG&E with Golden State Energy, a non-profit utility if it appears that PG&E is struggling with maintenance and safety.

“California must have a backstop in place to protect ratepayers and our state if PG&E does not meet the strict requirements for emerging from bankruptcy and for becoming a safe, reliable, and sustainable energy provider,” state Sen. Jerry Hill, author of the bill, SB 350, said earlier this month soon after the legislation was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

What to Do Next About the Kincade Fire

If you are under evacuation orders, leave. Leave quickly. This is a fire that has consumed 66,000 acres in less than 5 days. With 100 mile per hour winds, it can overrun a home in seconds.

Who Is to Blame for the Kincade Fire

Pacific Gas and Electric

  • Make an inventory of your belongings and the things that you’ve lost. If you don’t have an inventory on file with your insurance company, you will want to make a list soon.
  • Get legal representation. There are probably going to be lawsuits with regards to this fire. You will want someone to keep an eye on your best interests throughout this process.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What types of damages are you entitled to pursue?
    You can pursue any real damages, including wrongful death, loss of property, loss of business, personal injury, and other legal damages. Speak to a fire attorney from Singleton Schreiber to find out about your case.
  • How much work will you need to do if you choose to pursue a case? 
    Very little. You’ll tell your story and supply documentation to your attorney. The attorney will handle it from there. Very few of these cases require anyone to appear in court.
  • Will your attorney receive any portion of your insurance payout? 
    No. The attorney is only entitled to the money they work to get you. If you file suit against PG&E, that will be all the attorney can get a share of. If you need an attorney to sue your insurance company, they might get a portion of that payout, but your attorney will discuss that with you.

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