Marshall fire victims sue Xcel Energy for negligence and damages

The most destructive fire in Colorado history has sparked a legal battle between the utility company and hundreds of plaintiffs who lost their homes and loved ones.

Xcel Energy denies responsibility for the fire

Xcel Energy, the largest electric utility in Colorado, is facing at least eight lawsuits from more than 500 plaintiffs who claim that the company’s power lines and equipment caused the Marshall fire on Dec. 30, 2021. The fire burned over 6,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and killed two people in Boulder County.

The plaintiffs allege that Xcel Energy failed to properly maintain, inspect, and repair its power lines and poles, which sparked a second ignition point for the fire near the intersection of Colorado 93 and Colorado 170. They also accuse the company of failing to shut off power to the area when high winds and dry conditions created a fire risk.

Xcel Energy, however, denies any wrongdoing and says that the second ignition point had nothing to do with its power lines. The company claims that the fire started 80 to 110 feet away from its power lines in an area with underground coal fire activity. The company also says that it followed all safety protocols and regulations regarding its electric infrastructure.

Boulder County investigation inconclusive on the cause of the fire

The lawsuits against Xcel Energy come after the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney released the results of their 18-month investigation into the causes of the Marshall fire on June 9, 2023. The investigation found that the fire had two ignition sources: one that was caused by a buried burn pile on the Twelve Tribes property north of the Marshall Mesa trailhead, and another that was most likely caused by hot particles discharged from Xcel Energy power lines.


The investigation, however, could not determine with certainty which ignition source was responsible for the fire’s spread and destruction. The investigation also ruled out any criminal charges against Xcel Energy or the Twelve Tribes community, but left the door open for civil litigation.

Civil lawsuits have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, and only require the plaintiffs to show that their claims are more likely than not to be true. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for their financial losses, emotional distress, and punitive damages from Xcel Energy.

California wildfire lawyers join the fight in Boulder

The legal battle over the Marshall fire has attracted the attention of several law firms from California, which have experience in suing utility companies for wildfire damages. These firms have joined forces with local attorneys to form the Marshall Fire Attorneys, a group of fire litigation specialists.

The group says that it has evidence that Xcel Energy’s power lines and equipment were faulty and outdated, and that the company ignored the warnings of fire danger. The group also says that it has experts who can testify that the second ignition point was caused by Xcel Energy’s power lines, and that the fire would not have been so devastating if not for the company’s negligence.

The group is inviting more victims of the Marshall fire to join their lawsuits, which are expected to go to trial in 2024. The group says that it is confident that it can win the case and hold Xcel Energy accountable for the harm it caused.

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