Paradise lost; a tale of fire, destruction and corporate negligence
The blazing fire that destroyed Paradise, California is being described as the worst fire in California history. Over 6,450 private residences have been burned to the ground. Hundreds of commercial buildings were damaged and nearly 15,000 structures remain threatened. While the death toll is currently estimated at 79; there are still at least 1000 people who remain missing. Many of the deceased were found burned alive in their vehicles; these poor souls were consumed by the fire as they attempted to flee the area.
Search and rescue teams have now recruited the help of anthropologists because many of the human remains that are currently being found are merely charred bones found within the rubble of what was once residential homes.
Due to the fast progression of the fire, there was no evacuation help provided to the public. Many of the survivors have shared their experiences on social media, some have claimed that when they called 911 to report the fire. The operator allegedly told them to leave the area and that there would be no immediate help from rescue teams. I have personally requested the 911 calls for Paradise, Ca and am still waiting on the release of the public records.
Cal-fire, the official fire rescue operation within California, admits that the investigation into what caused this fire is on going.
The conclusion to this investigation could take months or even years. Cal-fire crew continually reported downed power lines as they attempted to assess the situation of the Camp Road fire in Paradise, CA. Many believe the conclusion of the fire report will blame slack power lines. Citizens from Paradise have publicly stated that they believe this fire was a direct result of PG&E negligence. Survivors have continued to report that they heard transformer explosions as the fire rapidly spread during their evacuation routes.
It is important to note that 24 hours before the fire occurred PG&E made public statements that they were considering shutting down the electrical grid as a precaution due to the high winds in the area. The next day, on Nov. 8th,2018 PG&E made another statement suggesting that they were still intending on shutting down the grid for Butte County. It is currently unknown why PG& E failed to follow through with these statements.
Residents have stated that they were under the impression that they were simply going to be without power during the windstorm. It has been proven that PG&E did in fact report a transmission failure in Paradise, CA and within 15 minutes of the reported outage, the vegetation fire had spread rapidly. The outrage occurred early in the morning,before 7 am. Many residents had gone to bed the night before expecting PG&E to shut down the grid; instead they awoke to their entire city ablaze.
PG&E is the electrical company that dominates California and is the nations largest utilities corporation. PG&E has a very dark and sordid history of being directly connected to several of the fatal fires that have caused massive destruction throughout the state. In fact, on Oct. 8th, 2018 Cal-fire finally concluded their investigation into the deadly Cascade fire that occurred a year earlier. Their investigation report clearly blames the PG&E electrical grid for causing the fire. The official report stated that during a period of high winds, two power lines became slack and touched. Once the power lines touched, an electrical arch occurred which ultimately caught vegetation on fire. The electrical arching that occurs when power lines touch is a phenomenon that occurs with “slack lines.” While the PG&E slack lines were deemed the catalyst in the Cascade fire, due to Government policy the corporation will likely never be held financially accountable. Instead, consumers will simply encounter higher rates in order to cover the costs of damages.
It is important to note that during the Cascade fire the slack line arching caught dried vegetation on fire; but it is the responsibility of the utility corporations to maintain the vegetation within a certain parameter of their electrical grid. As many online commentators continue to fight about the federal forestry funding that has been cut and continue to blame the lack of logging that takes place within California forests-few have even began to discuss the very real issue at hand.
As many online commentators continue to fight about the federal forestry funding that has been cut and continue to blame the lack of logging that takes place within California forests-few have even began to discuss the very real issue at hand.
PG&E failed to properly maintain the dry vegetation and fuels that surround their energy grid. This type of negligence is directly correlated to the massive fire destruction that we have witnessed throughout the years.
Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown, passed legislation to protect the billion dollar electrical company with policy that has essentially deemed the corporation “too big to fail.” Despite the fact courts have ruled that Utility companies can and should be held liable for the damages that are incurred as a result of faulty equipment, Gov. Brown’s policy has been able to protect the corporation from paying restitution. Even though PG&E’s corporate negligence is clearly responsible for creating hundreds of millions of dollars in fire damages; the financial bill will be passed on to the consumer in the form of monthly surcharges. PG&E is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits from insurance companies but it is likely that this controversial new policy will prevent PG&E from every being required to pay out.
It is also important to note that as a direct result of the massive financial damages that have been incurred through fire; many homeowners are no longer qualifying for fire protection insurance. It is a very scary time for the homeowners in California because there are quite literally no protections for residents who are displaced by the fires that are caused due to corporate negligence.
Gov. Jerry Brown has chosen to collude with corporations who pose a threat to the public. The bill “SB901” has been described as “complex” but it seems that one of the sole purposes of the bill was to prevent bankruptcy for the utilities corporation. Many critics have continued to refer to this bill as a “PG&E bail out.”
A deeper investigative dive into PG&E shows that not only is this corporation making millions in profits each year; nearly all of the board members of PG&E make over 2 million dollars each year in their annual salary.
Furthermore, the PG&E CEO was expected to receive a $12 million bonus for the 2018 fiscal year. These financial figures speak for themselves; but if we dig even deeper into this corporation it clearly shows ties to one of the wealthiest banking families in the world: Rothschild INC.
For those who are unaware, the Rothschild dynasty has been around for centuries and they own many of the financial institutions that influence our daily life. Some have suggested that the Rothschild are able to buy influence, sway governments, and basically do whatever the hell they want. Once we realize that the Rothschild have a strong handed role with the PG&E corporation, it becomes even more obvious why state government has chosen to protect the elite instead of the common man.