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California fire victims see little payout from settlement

The trust was approved by a federal judge as part of PG&E's bankruptcy proceedings after a deadly fire nearly wiped out the town of Paradise.

SAN FRANCISCO — An investigation found that a trust set up to help compensate victims of deadly California wildfires sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment paid survivors just $7 million last year in its first year of operation while racking up $51 million in overhead. 

The trust was approved by a federal judge as part of PG&E's bankruptcy proceedings after a deadly fire nearly wiped out the town of Paradise.

It is meant to compensate some 67,000 fire victims. But an investigation by KQED News found that in its first year, the trust spend nearly 90% of its funds on overhead, with some attorneys billing as much as $1,500 an hour.

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