PG&E ordered to pay $4 million for Camp fire that killed 84

Aerial view of destruction from the Camp fire in Paradise, Calif.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

PG&E Corp. was ordered to pay $4 million for its role in causing the 2018 fire that killed 84 people, a penalty the judge who imposed the sentence said didn’t fit the enormity of the crime.

California State Judge Michael Deems said, however, he recognized the constraints prosecutors faced under the law.

“The court’s sentencing options in this case are limited,” Deems said at a hearing Thursday, adding that if PG&E were a person it’d serve an anticipated sentence of 90 years in state prison for its “callous disregard for the citizens of Butte county.”

The sentence was no surprise because the utility on Tuesday pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the Camp Fire. PG&E will also report to an outside monitor who was appointed by a federal judge overseeing its criminal probation for safety violations stemming from a 2010 fatal gas-line explosion.