SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. — Cal Fire says the deadly Zogg Fire in 2020 was sparked after a pine tree hit PG&E distribution lines.
The fire in Shasta County killed four people, destroyed 204 structures, and burned roughly 56,000 acres.
After the investigation, Cal Fire said fire was caused by pine tree that contacted electrical distribution lines owned and operated by PG&E north of the community of Igo.
The people who died were identified as:
- Karin King, 79, of Igo
- Alaina Michelle Rowe, 45, and her daughter Feyla, 8, of Igo
- Kenneth Vossen, 52, of Igo
In 2020, Zach McLeod lost his wife, Alaina Michelle Rowe, and his daughter Feyla in the fire. He told ABC10 last year that PG&E was to blame for failing its responsibility to trim trees and failing to shut off power near his home, that windy afternoon. Mark Potter, his attorney, says Cal Fire's investigation backs that up.
"This is, this is an important step towards holding PG&E accountable for all the harm that they've done," Potter said. Potter is representing McLeod in a wrongful death lawsuit against PG&E along with 250 other victims who lost property in the fire.
Cal Fire's report has been forwarded to the Shasta County District Attorney's Office.
“I’ve received the criminal investigation completed by CalFire. It will be reviewed for filing criminal charges, up to and including possible murder charges for each of the four individuals that lost their life as a result of the Zogg Fire,” Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett in a statement to ABC10.
Potter believes the fire was preventable and wants to see PG&E held accountable.
"They have a long history of burning down other towns, and hopefully this will be the last one," he said.
In response to the Cal Fire announcement, PG&E issued a statement Monday night.
“The loss of life and devastation in the communities impacted by the Zogg Fire is tragic, and we recognize that nothing can heal the hearts of those who have lost so much. We also thank the courageous first responders who saved lives, protected property and worked to contain and put out the fire," the utility said, in part, in a statement to ABC10.
PG&E said they look forward to reviewing the report and evidence when they are allowed to do so.
A full statement from PG&E is available below:
“The loss of life and devastation in the communities impacted by the Zogg Fire is tragic, and we recognize that nothing can heal the hearts of those who have lost so much. We also thank the courageous first responders who saved lives, protected property and worked to contain and put out the fire.
Today, CAL FIRE announced that it has determined the cause of the Zogg Fire was a pine tree contacting PG&E electrical lines located north of Igo in Shasta County. As we have said previously, PG&E has fully cooperated with CAL FIRE’s investigation.
We remain focused on continuing to reduce wildfire risk throughout our system and executing on the commitments made in our 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan. These efforts include:
- New electric grid technology;
- Hardening of the electric system;
- Accelerated inspections of electric infrastructure;
- Enhanced vegetation management around power lines; and
- Real-time monitoring and situational awareness tools to better understand how severe weather can impact PG&E's system.
PG&E’s most important responsibility is the safety of our customers and communities we serve. As the threat of extreme weather continues to impact portions of California, we remain focused on preventing major wildfires and are committed to our mission to safely deliver energy to our customers and communities."