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California firm agrees to pay $13.5 billion to wildfire victims

California's Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) on Friday (local time) said that it has agreed to pay USD 13.5 billion to the victims of wildfires that had killed dozens of people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes across Northern California last year.


California firm agrees to pay $13.5 billion to wildfire victims
Camp Fire in northern California -- the deadliest in the state's history -- that left 86 people dead.. Image Credit: ANI

California's Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) on Friday (local time) said that it has agreed to pay USD 13.5 billion to the victims of wildfires that had killed dozens of people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes across Northern California last year. Faulty PG&E power lines were blamed for sparking last year's so-called Camp Fire in northern California -- the deadliest in the state's history -- that left 86 people dead. Only a federal bankruptcy judge needs to approve the accord now before it becomes final, The Washington Post reported.

"We are pleased that PG&E has finally admitted that the victims' losses exceed $13.5 billion and that PG&E is responsible for the victim's losses," said Robert Julian, a lawyer from the firm Baker Hostetler in San Francisco representing victims. The massive settlement could compensate thousands of victims who have had to recover and rebuild after losing homes, businesses and loved ones in the blazes while prompting a bankruptcy for the San Francisco-based firm in the coming months that had put profit before safety.

"There have been many calls for PG&E to change in recent years," PG&E president Bill Johnson said in a statement Friday. "PG&E's leadership team has heard those calls for change and we realize we need to do even more to be a different company now and in the future," the statement read.

PG&E has faced waves of criticism over its response to the string of wildfires that have ravaged the state in recent years. The lawsuit filed by the victims of that fire alleged that PG&E equipment did cause the blaze, and the case was set to go to trial in January. But Friday's settlement, however, may put the litigation to rest. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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