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Marshall Fire Victims Still Waiting To Learn Official Cause, Some Unsure About Lawsuit vs. Xcel Energy

(CBS4) - A new civil lawsuit against Xcel Energy is generating calls to attorneys from people who lost their homes in the Marshall Fire.

The lawsuit claims the wildfire was sparked by a downed Xcel power line, but the official investigation into the cause is far from over.

marshall fire
(credit: Edward Harrell)

Video taken and posted to YouTube by Edward Harrell not long after the Marshall Fire began shows problems with utility lines swaying in the hurricane-force winds.

"We've got power lines going down," Harrell says on the recording.

What he captured was a power line with what appears to be white smoke coming from it.

power line marshall fire
(credit: Edward Harrell)

A lawsuit filed on Thursday claims "Sparks from the powerline ignited a ground fire that came to be known as the Marshall Fire."

Xcel Energy quickly once again claimed that it was not responsible for the blaze that destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses.

Tawyna Somauroo is a founder of Marshall Together, an organization of fire victims.

"We don't know when we are going to get the investigation results so it is interesting to see information come forward because of a lawsuit," she said.

Xcel power lines in 2020 were involved in 647 ignitions in Colorado, which include anytime anything comes in contact with its equipment. Downed lines didn't cause any wildfires, the company says.

(credit: CBS)

Xcel Energy spent $13.5 million on fire mitigation in Boulder County in 2020.

Attorney James Avery with Denver Injury Law filed the class-action lawsuit in Boulder District Court against Xcel Energy on behalf of fire victims.

"The power lines triggered a fire on the ground that went in that direction," he said.

But Xcel in a statement says its investigation shows its equipment was properly maintained and inspected.

Those who lost their homes, like Somauroo, want answers as to why the destructive fire happened.

"For whatever reason the fire happened I want to know what it is and I want the safety problem to be addressed and resolved," she said.

There is also the possibility that the fire may have been caused by an underground coal mine fire that has been active for years. Boulder County has been notified by Avery that it may be sued over maintenance of the mine.

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