A house fire that destroyed a Yolo County family’s home and all of their belongings on Tuesday is being blamed on a broken insulator pin on a PG&E power line.
• A broken insulator pin caused a high-voltage power line to snap and fall on another line. Fire officials believe the resulting electrical surge traveled down the line and caused a fire in a 220-volt outlet at a family’s home.
• The house was destroyed in the fire. The family lost their home, all of their belongings, and two of their pets.
• PG&E has not yet admitted responsibility. The company asked the Red Cross to help the family.
The Pacific Gas and Electric power outage started at about 6 p.m., according to a report in the Appeal-Democrat, a newspaper that serves Marysville, Yuba City, and surrounding communities.
Shortly thereafter, the fire started at the Moler family’s home in the 1700 block of Hammonton-Smartsville Road in the city of Linda, which is about 5 miles from Yuba City — about 40 miles north of Sacramento.
Linda fire chief Richard Webb said the fire was related to the problem with PG&E’s equipment.
PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said an insulator pin that holds a primary high-voltage power line broke. That caused the wire to fall onto the distribution line that delivers power to residences and businesses. The wires touched, caused a transformer to fail, and suddenly stopped power to the community.
The fire at the Molers’ home started in or near the 220-voltage outlet for the dryer, Webb said. He believes it was caused by a power surge that traveled down the line from the PG&E accident.
“Because of the extent of the damage, sometimes it’s hard to make a 100 percent determination,” Webb told the Appeal-Democrat. “We looked at the evidence that’s there … And we think we can draw a pretty reasonable conclusion.”
Webb said fire investigators also found holes burned in the metal siding where electricity comes into a trailer in front of the house, which indicates there was significant electrical arcing there as well.
The Moler family — Jeremiah Moler, wife Christy Berry, 6-month-old daughter Allyssa and 8-year-old daughter Cierra — lost their home, their belongings, and two of their pets. Their two dogs were safe, but two cats are still missing.
No burn injuries were reported, but the trauma of losing everything is significant.
The Red Cross paid for a few nights in a hotel and money for basic immediate necessities, but that won’t go very far. Moreno said PG&E representatives met with the family to explain the process of filing a claim. The company did not admit responsibility for the fire, but Moreno indicated PG&E would cover damages if there was negligence involved.
“We reached out to the Red Cross to offer a contribution (to the family),” Moreno said.
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