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PG&E Says Equipment Involved in Lafayette Fires

Nov. 1 update (2:52 p.m.): Contra Costa County Fire Protection District confirms causes of Oct. 27 fires in Lafayette and Martinez are due to power lines.


PG&E acknowledges in reports filed with state regulators Monday that its equipment was involved in sparking separate fires on both sides of Highway 24 in Lafayette, but noted the fires were not in high fire threat areas subject to Sunday’s massive power shutoff.

At 4:45 Sunday, the utility said, a PG&E technician responded to a problem near Pleasant Hill and Condit roads, near a fire that had started there. Contra Costa fire officials told PG&E they were investigating "contact between" the communication lashing (reinforcing and support) wire and PG&E’s power line "as a potential ignition source."

No wire actually went down as a result, the utility said.

An hour later, at 5:50 p.m., a PG&E technician responded to a reported problem on Camino Diablo Road and found a fallen pole and transformer. Fire officials told the company they suspected that a pole had fallen and the downed transformer started the fire.

The fires burned the Lafayette Tennis Club's building.

In a separate Filing late Friday, the company said it found 120 cases of wind damage in the last major round of shutoffs on Oct. 9, including 69 downed lines and damaged poles, with 26 cases tied to fallen trees and 43 others blamed on "wind-asset damage or where the cause could not be identified."

The company also found 51 hazards posed by tree limbs that had broken off and landed atop lines, but did not say whether the equipment or trees had been inspected or trimmed beforehand.

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