Six months after the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses, no cause has been released. Now Xcel Energy is asking a Boulder County District Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims its utility lines may have played a role in the start of the blaze.
The 17-page motion to dismiss references video taken by Edward Harrell during the fire and posted to YouTube shows power lines sparking.
"We got power lines going down... oh" is heard on the video.
Xcel responds the footage does not show those sparks ignited the fire. In fact, the utility claims the fire was "already ablaze of massive size and started elsewhere."
Attorney James Avery filed the lawsuit on behalf of fire victims and previously said there are others who saw the fire begin.
"We have eyewitnesses that say they saw the fire start underneath those lines. we have eyewitnesses that saw those lines apparently damaged and being repaired within the days after the fire," he stated after filing the lawsuit in March.
The lawsuit is intended as a class action and it reads in part, "Plaintiffs are among those terrorized and damaged by the Marshall Fire."
But in the request for dismissal, Xcel states, "even if proven true, they would not establish negligent conduct on PSCo's (Xcel) part in maintaining and operating its lines."
Legal analyst Raj Chohan said the lawsuit may be difficult to win stating, "You would then have to prove that Xcel was negligent on this day when we had hurricane-force winds, 100 mph 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."
While utility lines have been looked at, so too has an underground coal mine fire and a nearby religious group's burning practices, but investigators have still not named a cause.
The owner of the gas station near where the fire is believed to have started is among those who filed the suit. He told us someone here saw the fire begin. Xcel said it has nothing to add other than its response filed in court.
for more features.