Enlarge / SANTA ROSA, CA -OCTOBER 14: The ruins of houses destroyed by the Tubbs Fire are seen near Fountaingrove Parkway on October 14, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.

At least 40 people are confirmed dead with hundreds still missing. Officials expect the death toll to rise and now estimate that 5,700 structures have been destroyed. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)
A couple who lost its Santa Rosa home in the devastating October Tubbs Fire has sued the local utility for negligence, saying that untrimmed tree branches caught fire when they came into contact with power lines and other equipment.
The California Department of Forestry hasn’t officially ruled on what caused the October fires that consumed hundreds of thousands of acres in northern California and killed dozens of people, but officials have asked Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) to preserve records for subsequent investigations into the causes of the fires.
Last week, the Bay Area paper Mercury News reported that the night the fires started, “emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.” The night had been a particularly windy one, and PGE spokesperson Matt Nauman told the paper that “The historic wind event that swept across PGE service area late Sunday and early Monday packed hurricane-strength winds in excess of 75mph in some cases.”
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