PG&E Corp. shares surged Thursday after California fire investigators said the deadliest in a series of 2017 state wildfires wasn’t caused by the utility.
California fire investigators said the Tubbs Fire, which killed 22 people and destroyed nearly 37,000 acres mainly in Napa and Sonoma Counties, was caused by a private electrical system near a residential structure, ending speculation that PG&E may have been liable for the blaze.
Shares in PG&E PCG, +74.59% , which announced last week that it was planning to seek bankruptcy protection by month’s end in response to wildfire-related liability costs, surged as much as 75 percent to $14 following the news.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said it found no evidence of violations of state law related to the cause of the Tubbs Fire. It has previously found that PG&E equipment helped spark 18 other wildfires during a spate of deadly fires that hit the state in 2017. State officials have yet to determine whether PG&E equipment helped cause the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest fire ever, which killed 86 people last year. PG&E has disclosed that a high-voltage line in the region where the fire started malfunctioned some 15 minutes before the start of the Camp Fire was reported last November.
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