Sunday, April 14, 2024

The company that provides electricity and other services says that its buildings seem to be connected to the beginning of the Smokehouse Creek fire in Texas

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The company that supplies power to most of the Texas Panhandle admitted that its facilities seem to have played a part in starting the biggest wildfire in the state. This fire destroyed over a million acres and caused residents to lose their homes.

Xcel Energy, the utility company, stated in a news release on Thursday that, according to the information available at the moment, their facilities seem to be connected to the ignition of the Smokehouse Creek fire.

The exact cause of the fire, which burned over a million acres in Texas and Oklahoma, is not officially known yet. This fire was one of five that caused a lot of damage to the land and people in the Panhandle last week.

A woman named Melanie McQuiddy, whose home was destroyed in the wildfire, filed a lawsuit claiming that a fallen power pole started the fire. She alleges that the pole, which the companies didn’t inspect, maintain, and replace properly, broke off on February 26, causing the fire.

Xcel Energy disagrees with the claims that it was negligent in maintaining and operating its infrastructure. However, they encourage people who lost property or livestock in the Smokehouse Creek fire to submit a claim through their process.

The company mentioned that 47 homes in Hemphill County and 17 in Roberts County were destroyed by the fire. The number of homes destroyed in Hutchinson County is still being determined.

State officials reported that around 500 homes and structures were destroyed by the five wildfires in the Panhandle. The Smokehouse Creek fire has burned 1,059,570 acres and is 44% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service on Thursday. At least two people died in the fire, and it extended into Oklahoma, destroying over 31,500 acres.

The wildfires also had a severe impact on ranchers, as thousands of cattle were killed, and many more had to be put down due to burns on their hooves, making their survival unlikely.

Xcel CEO Bob Frenzel expressed deep sadness for the losses in the community and committed to supporting its renewal and recovery, stating that the people in the region are friends, neighbors, and relatives.

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