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Some Not Blaming Xcel Following Lawsuit In Connection To Marshall Fire

(CBS4) - Reaction to a lawsuit filed blaming Xcel Energy for starting the Marshall Fire in Boulder County brought reactions in town of interest -- but not of casting blame for the fire.

RELATED: Marshall Fire: Xcel Energy Blamed For Destructive Wildfire In Lawsuit

boulder county neighbors not blaming xcel
(credit: CBS)

Resident Bob Gabriella said it served no purpose for him. "We're dealing with 111 mile-an-hour winds," he said.

"Yeah I don't know if you can prove negligence," neighbor Bruce Bryant added. But he thinks there's a lesson to be learned. "It'd be great to know things because you could not repeat the same error ... So if it's a grounding thing with power lines, we can work on that."

It could be a hard case to make, legal analyst attorney Raj Chohan agreed. "There's a couple hurdles here. First off, we don't know what caused that fire yet. It hasn't been officially released," he explained. "But even if Xcel power lines did cause that fire, you would then have to prove that Xcel was negligent on this day when we had hurricane force winds, 100 mile-an-hour winds blowing. You'd have to prove that Xcel knew those power lines were down, and they didn't get out there in time to fix them."

The Boulder County Sheriff on Thursday released a statement explaining why it is taking so long. In it, the office said it's reviewed hundreds of tips, served search warrants for physical and digital property, has reviewed hundreds of videos and photos and interviewed hundreds of people.

The department says it is working with "experts around the country to analyze the evidence." In his most recent comments on camera, Sheriff Joe Pelle said on March 14, "When we say what we think happened, we have to be really sure about it because the responsibility, the liability is off the charts."

Gabriella attended a meeting in which one of the people filing the lawsuit, the owner of a store along Highway 93, shared photos he'd taken after the fire.

"I was really skeptical to go and see him, but he had some really interesting points," Gabriella said. "And I think they are certainly worth digging into."

Among the photos, some showed burn marks along posts. "You can see little burn spots along all the fence posts where the wires touched the barbed wire, and it was searching for a ground," Gabriella said. But he remains unsure of the meaning. "I don't know. I don't know if we'll ever know." He added, "As far as looking for revenge or blame, we just don't want to mess with it."

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