SAN FRANCISCO - PG&E confirmed Monday that its equipment may have been responsible for two more fires that broke out in the Bay Area during its Public Safety Power Shutoff over the weekend.
According to two reports released by the California Public Utilities Commission, the company’s broken electrical equipment may have sparked two fires in Lafayette just one hour apart on Sunday evening.
Around 4:45 p.m. on Sunday, according to the report, a PG&E worker arrived to the location of a fire near Pleasant Hill Road and found broken wires connected to a conductor. The utility is investigating whether the PG&E “open wire” touched another wire from a communication network and are looking at it “as a potential ignition source” of a quick-moving fire in the area that destroyed the Lafayette Tennis Club building.
Just one hour later, as detailed in the second CPUC report, another PG&E worker found a “fallen pole and transformer” near Camino Diablo Road where another fire broke out. They are investigating that fallen transformer as being the cause of a fire in that area that forced evacuations of Lafayette. The fire burned at least 3 structures.
Neither fire was located in parts of Lafayette that PG&E considered high risk fire zones so power was not shut off as part of its planned outages.
The two fires in Lafayette are the second and third fires reported to the CPUC in less than five days which appear to be linked to broken PG&E equipment. Last week, the ultility said it found a broken jumper wire on a transmission tower close to the ignition point of the Kincaid Fire in Sonoma County. PG&E confirmed that when the fire ignited, its high-voltage transmission lines in the area were fully energized.