Wednesday, April 17, 2024

A recent legal case says a knocked-down power pole caused the Smokehouse Creek Fire. The state is still looking into it

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A lady from near Canadian, Texas, whose house got wrecked in the huge Smokehouse Creek Fire, is suing a power company. She says a fallen utility pole near Stinnett caused the terrible fire. Melanie McQuiddy filed the lawsuit against Xcel Energy, its subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Company, and Osmose Utilities Services, a Georgia-based contractor that checks wood utility poles.

In her case, McQuiddy claims the pole broke off at its base on February 26 because the companies didn’t properly check, maintain, and replace it. This caused the fire when power lines hit the ground and set off a quick and unstoppable blaze.

Mikal Watts, McQuiddy’s lawyer, used “fire patterns” to find the specific pole, showing that the fire began where the pole fell. The Texas A&M Forest Service is investigating the fire, which is the state’s biggest, but hasn’t announced a cause.

Brooke McQuiddy shared that her mother lost everything in the fire, and Xcel Energy expressed sympathy but said there’s no official cause for the fires yet.

In a filing with the SEC, Xcel Energy mentioned a law firm wanting to preserve a fallen utility pole near the fire’s potential origin. The lawsuit blames Osmose Utilities Services for not properly inspecting the pole. Osmose is investigating and promises full cooperation.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned over 1 million acres in Texas and is 15% contained. It has killed at least two people and spread to Oklahoma, burning over 31,000 acres there.

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