Three PG&E Employees Die in Helicopter Crash Near Fairfield

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 07: A Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) truck sits at the scene of a three-alarm fire that started after a construction crew hit a gas line on February 07, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Solano County authorities say three PG&E employees aboard a helicopter that went down in the hills outside Fairfield this afternoon while checking transmission lines, have all died. 

The crash happened about 1:30 p.m. near Lyon and Soda Springs Roads.

Jeff Smith is PG&E’s External Communications Manager, and said it was a contracted Bell 206 helicopter that was flying on behalf of PG&E, when it came in contact with a 115 kilovolt power line near Vacaville.

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He added that it was either the crash or the downed lines that caused a seven acre brush fire, which was put out by Cal Fire by 4:00 p.m.

Cal Fire spokesman Will Powers said that one of its engines rolled over on the incident, resulting in three minor injuries. Those firefighters were then transported to a local hospital. 

PG&E de-energized the lines to 38,000 people for safety, but then had trouble getting them all back on. Power was ultimately restored by 8:21 p.m.

“Because we are seeing some really extreme heats, that’s presenting some challenges as we try to restore customers from various sources, but the system is stretched a little thin because of the hot weather.”

For hours, white smoke could be seen rising from a hill near Vacaville, but the area was too remote for fire crews to let the media in any closer.