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Thread: California fires- Sonoma County- Mendocino, Napa County....Santa Rosa

  1. #16
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Any unattended death, meaning death with no professional personnel such as LEO or medical personnel present, is treated as a potential crime scene until the coroner or law enforcement or fire investigators have established cause and circumstance of death. A recent unattended and accidental death in my extended family bore this out. Once the coroner established cause of death and that the cause and circumstance matched information provided by family, the potential criminal possibility was dismissed and autopsy ruled unnecessary. I expect that it will take quite some time for the necessary personnel to process the site and remains and until those deaths are ruled accidental or other non-foul-play circumstance, the sites will continue to be flagged as potential “crime scenes” and nothing more need be read into them. And, the internet conjecture really isn’t helping.

    My heart goes out to those who have lost friends or family in this terrible tragedy.

    DG
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST -- 1988 R100GS "Bee"-- 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C -- 2010 K1300GT
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  2. #17
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    This is from a NYTimes story today (10/13) regarding the difficulties faced by law enforcement folks as they deal with unattended deaths from the fires:

    “We have found bodies that were nothing more than ash and bones,” said Robert Giordano, the Sonoma County sheriff. In some cases, he said, the only way to identify the victims was by the serial numbers stamped on artificial joints and other medical devices that were in their bodies.

    Because the fires have sent so many residents scrambling for safety, separating them from relatives, the authorities have received reports of 900 missing people and have deployed 30 detectives to track them down. Officials said they had confirmed the locations and safety of 437 people and were still looking for the other 463.

    If they cannot find them by phone or online, they send search and rescue teams with cadaver dogs to the homes — if the homes are accessible, which in many cases, they still are not.

    “It’s going to be a slow process,” Sheriff Giordano said.
    John Gamel
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  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    A natural disaster is considered a crime?....Doubt that. If suspected arson yes, but not a forest fire.
    You miss understood. Some of your wording and/or terminology does not line up with what I was conveying. A Forest Fire started by lightning would be a natural disaster. Correct, any fatalities would not be considered a crime. They have completely ruled out lightning for these fires around the Santa Rosa area. An arsonist, that starts a fire anywhere, in a Forest or in any other structure, is responsible for any injuries or deaths that occur because of his/her actions. They can be charged with the crime of murder. What I am guessing, is that most of these fires will be caused by power line issues due to the extreme high winds? Or, some other mechanical man caused issue?

    I have watched the news and have talked to some of the guys I use to work with that are on the Fire Lines. The large scale devastation of entire neighborhoods is heart breaking. This fire could very well top the Oakland Hills fire due to the higher loss of life and property. A lot of folks with nothing but the clothes on their backs.........

    John

  4. #19
    Failure to adequately maintain a power system, which failure allowed the ignition of wild fires, might in and of itself be a crime. Negligent homicide - that is negligence resulting in death. Time will tell.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  5. #20

  6. #21
    Well once again, my friend lives right there...and he says the original fire started by power lines coming down due to high wind. Hard to make a criminal connection there.

    Then there was a rumor of arson in a neighborhood a few miles away.

    If you still insist that {I} misunderstood?...then there is no point continuing this.
    Ron Prior {AMA member ,MOA member}
    Milford,Oh
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Failure to adequately maintain a power system, which failure allowed the ignition of wild fires, might in and of itself be a crime. Negligent homicide - that is negligence resulting in death. Time will tell.

    Aren't you sorta looking for the "boogeyman" there Paul ?...I mean mechanical systems / electrical systems / components and such do just fail.
    Ron Prior {AMA member ,MOA member}
    Milford,Oh
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Aren't you sorta looking for the "boogeyman" there Paul ?...I mean mechanical systems / electrical systems / components and such do just fail.
    I'm not looking for anything. But I do understand that PG&E was being/has been investigated for failing to maintain certain elements of their infrastructure, and/or trim trees as necessary. That is all. I'm just a guy in Texas. When the investigations and the lawsuits start in California - as they certainly will - the world will then know more. Something is seriously wrong when high winds down lines that start fires that burn thousands of acres, a few thousand homes, many businesses, many vehicles and maybe a hundred or more people.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #24
    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Aren't you sorta looking for the "boogeyman" there Paul ?...I mean mechanical systems / electrical systems / components and such do just fail.
    PG&E was fined very heavily in the past for wildland fires caused by negligent maintenance. In past cases it was discovered that some managers had diverted funds from line maintenance accounts to other activities. Not saying that’s the case here, but the precedent is established to make them liable.

    Much the same has been done for railroad operations that caused wildland fires. We had a case of about 15 fires erupting along a line north of Reno after a defective locomotive went by spewing hot carbon chunks. Western Pacific RR reps were onsite before we finished extinguishing the fires. They were going door to door trying to settle damage claims before anyone filed...
    Bill Johnston

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I'm not looking for anything. But I do understand that PG&E was being/has been investigated for failing to maintain certain elements of their infrastructure, and/or trim trees as necessary. That is all. I'm just a guy in Texas. When the investigations and the lawsuits start in California - as they certainly will - the world will then know more. Something is seriously wrong when high winds down lines that start fires that burn thousands of acres, a few thousand homes, many businesses, many vehicles and maybe a hundred or more people.
    Well I admit I was not aware of the information you provided........But is it out of the question that winds, whipping lines could cause them to snap? Particularly at the end connections ?

    It happened when hurricane Ike came through here in "08" . Wind speed was said to be 81 mph...I went dark for five days. [They] said it was the wind toppling trees onto the lines, and in some cases just the whipping of the lines in the high winds . Granted we had no damage...other than some spoiled food....but no law suits that I was aware of.
    Ron Prior {AMA member ,MOA member}
    Milford,Oh
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Well I admit I was not aware of the information you provided........But is it out of the question that winds, whipping lines could cause them to snap? Particularly at the end connections ?

    It happened when hurricane Ike came through here in "08" . Wind speed was said to be 81 mph...I went dark for five days. [They] said it was the wind toppling trees onto the lines, and in some cases just the whipping of the lines in the high winds . Granted we had no damage...other than some spoiled food....but no law suits that I was aware of.
    The Diablo winds in coastal California are well known and generally predictable - not as to the day or week but certainly as to the fact they will happen, usually every year. Roofs are attached so as to withstand the winds. Power lines should be constructed and maintained so as to withstand the predictable winds. Trees should be trimmed so as to remain clear of the lines even with the predictable winds. In fact tree trimming is mandatory by Federal regulations since the great Northeast U.S. blackout that started when a tree downed a power line in Ohio which crashed the whole Northeast grid. I learned that when the power company in Kansas decided to clear cut under a transmission line across our property. Since their easement didn't allow that I threw them off the property. Eventually my lawyer and their lawyer worked out a new easement for which I was paid satisfactorily.

    That is my only point. Multiple line failures at scattered locations which start several catastrophic fires is a pattern that needs to be and will be investigated. The fires have, I am sure, burned up many motorcycles including some BMWs I would surmise.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Well once again, my friend lives right there...and he says the original fire started by power lines coming down due to high wind. Hard to make a criminal connection there.

    Then there was a rumor of arson in a neighborhood a few miles away.

    If you still insist that {I} misunderstood?...then there is no point continuing this.
    Ron,

    I think your friend is probably right on the money about the original ignition source being the power lines in high wind? Arson will have to be substantiated or ruled out?

    What you were misunderstanding was the difference between a natural disaster and arson resulting in the loss of property or ones life in a fire? Also, criminal negligence as it relates to property loss, injuries and death. My intent was not to insult you but to clarify and educate after some of your comments. I live 75 miles from this incident.. I spent 32 years in the Fire Service. 15 years on our investigation team. My last 9 years as a Chief officer. I think Paul G is right on the money (in his above posts) as far as the legalities go and the way I understand it? He has many years of experience in that field. He appears to really know his stuff! Great explanation.

    I hope your friends and their property stay safe in the next few critical days? We might have a little much needed rain coming late next week?

    John

  13. #28
    PG&E now being investigated by the State.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/utilit...ornia-wildfire
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by EvryDayRide View Post
    Ron,

    I think your friend is probably right on the money about the original ignition source being the power lines in high wind? Arson will have to be substantiated or ruled out?

    What you were misunderstanding was the difference between a natural disaster and arson resulting in the loss of property or ones life in a fire? Also, criminal negligence as it relates to property loss, injuries and death. My intent was not to insult you but to clarify and educate after some of your comments. I live 75 miles from this incident.. I spent 32 years in the Fire Service. 15 years on our investigation team. My last 9 years as a Chief officer. I think Paul G is right on the money (in his above posts) as far as the legalities go and the way I understand it? He has many years of experience in that field. He appears to really know his stuff! Great explanation.

    I hope your friends and their property stay safe in the next few critical days? We might have a little much needed rain coming late next week?

    John



    "I think your friend is probably right on the money about the original ignition source being the power lines in high wind? Arson will have to be substantiated or ruled out? "

    That was my point.

    Thanks for the well wishes...he said so far his house is still standing. And yes praying for rain.
    Ron Prior {AMA member ,MOA member}
    Milford,Oh
    2002 KLT
    2004 Roadster

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