CHICO (AP) – A U.S. judge overseeing a criminal case involving Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is asking the utility to explain any role it may have played in a massive wildfire that destroyed a Northern California town.

Judge William Alsup in San Francisco directed PG&E in a court filing on Tuesday to respond to a series of questions about power line safety and wildfires.

Alsup is overseeing a 2016 jury verdict and subsequent sentence against PG&E stemming from a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A judge last year ordered an independent monitor to oversee the safety of the company’s gas pipeline system and put the company on probation for five years.

Alsup said he wants to whether that sentence might be implicated if any wildfire were started by the reckless operation or maintenance of PG&E power lines.

A call to PG&E’s media line Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.


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