(Bloomberg) – California's chief utility regulator said the state may never determine whether PG&E Corp.'s electrical equipment played a role in igniting the deadly blazes near San Francisco earlier this month.

Evidence destroyed?

The wildfires, which have killed at least 42 people and destroyed thousands of structures across California's iconic wine country, may have also burned the evidence necessary to find out what caused them, Michael Picker, chairman of the state's Public Utilities Commission, said in an interview Wednesday.

Utility owner PG&E has meanwhile lost more than $6 billion of its market value amid speculation that downed power lines may have contributed to igniting the fires.

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