DA: Not enough evidence to prosecute PGE execs in San Bruno explosion

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Bruno city leaders held a news conference following yesterday's verdict in the deadly pipeline explosion.

PG&E was found guilty of six of the 12 charges, including obstructing investigators, following the pipeline blast in 2010. Eight people died and 38 homes were destroyed.

RELATED: Federal jury finds PG&E guilty of obstructing investigators

"These guilty verdicts finally hold PG&E fully accountable for their deliberate negligence and their wanton disregard for customer safety. These verdicts make it clear that now is the time for PG&E to accept responsibility for the urgent need for improvements to their corporate business practice and for them to make safety a highest priority outcome," said San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson.

It's been almost six years since the fire and explosion took eight lives and destroyed 38 homes. The City of San Bruno fought tooth and nail against PG&E, fighting to bring the corporate utility giant to justice.

The federal jury's verdict, guilty to six criminal counts of violating the federal pipeline safety law, including one count of obstructing the investigation.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe interpreted the jury's decision this way: "You are held accountable. You are a company that's properly described as felons."

PG&E now faces fines of up to $3 million. At the last minute, federal prosecutors backed off asking for hundreds of millions in penalties. And the evidence, which Wagstaffe has seen, did not support prosecuting the company's executives.

"Someone should be charged and held responsible for murder for everybody that died," said Tammy Crestmoor, San Bruno resident.

"Those that caused it were not held accountable. So the company was. The individuals were not," said Bob McNichols, also a resident.

In an email to ABC7 News, PG&E says that in 2014,they settled all victims' suits, adding that it made payments of more than $500 million to resolve the claims.

The email went to say that three days after the accident, PG&E provided San Bruno with $3 million to assist the city with its emergency response costs.

PG&E also says that they then established a trust to be funded up to $50 million to reimburse the city for expenses related to the fire and the cost of recovery, that PG&E also committed $3.5 million to the American Red Cross and its Ready Neighborhoods Program, which aims to transform communities across PG&E's service area into models of emergency preparedness and that in March 2012, PG&E contributed an additional $70 million to the City to be used for the community's benefit.

The email concluded by saying PG&E paid more than $2 billion in shareholder funds to enhance its gas infrastructure.

Click here to read PG&E's Statement on Trial Verdict.

The next phase of the trial is scheduled for October 11.

Click here for more stories on the San Bruno explosion.
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