Calvin Daley, 66, sat listening to jazz on his battery-powered radio on the front porch of his two-story home in the charred hills of Chico. Tiny birds hopped from the burned branches of a pine tree to a bird feeder.
Nearby, Pacific Gas and Electric crews repaired voltage lines, and other workers used an excavator to move aside hunks of melted metal that once were cars.
Daley didn't evacuate. Instead, he hooked up three hoses, stationed them around his home and began dousing everything. Some people who stayed to fight for their homes died. He had at least three hours to work before the fire arrived with fury.
For the last 10 years, the sound of police scanners has served as Thomas Gorden’s preferred soundtrack.
He doesn’t pay attention to every bit of information broadcast from the handful of devices he owns. But there are certain words and conversations he’s learned to key in on.
On Nov. 7, a call went out that someone had been shot outside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks. Then another. Gorden listened to the drone of 911 calls picking up in the background. He realized there was nothing typical about this shooting.
Victims of the Camp fire filed a class action lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company alleging the utility is responsible for sparking the deadly blaze that killed at least 77 people and destroyed more than 11,000 homes.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in a Butte County superior court by two law firms — Garner & Associates and Franklin D. Azar & Associates— alleges PG&E has a history of disregarding safety regulations to maximize corporate profits.
Attorneys are asking that PG&E pay victims for their loss of property and other costs related to the fire.
Times columnist George Skelton says Gov. Jerry Brown told the truth about the fires that no one wants to hear:
“You know, we’ve had fires for long before the Europeans showed up here,” the four-term governor replied. “And our indigenous people had a different way of living with nature. For 10,000 years, there were never more than 300,000 [people living in California]. Now we have 40 million and we have a totally different situation.
“So it’s not one thing. It’s people. It’s how people live, it’s where they live, and it’s the changing climate…. And the truth is…we’re going to have more difficulties. Things are not going to get better. They’re going to get more challenging because of the continuing alteration in the climate — lack of moisture, early snowmelt and faster winds, the whole thing.”
Officials have arrested two men in connection with the burglary of a fire station in Butte County.
Robert DePalma and William Erlbacher, both from Concow, Calif., were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft, looting during an emergency and possession of stolen property, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Butte County Fire Department said in a statement Monday.
Bail was set at $250,000 for each man, officials said.
The Cal Fire station was set up to help with the Camp fire, which so far has burned 151,000 acres and was listed as 66% contained as of Monday morning.