A Crisp Filing

Path of destruction

After three weeks of scorched destruction in the Texas Panhandle, a massive wildfire known as the Smokehouse Creek fire, has been entirely contained.  The fire has caused a debilitating loss, including the deaths of two individuals, the demise of cattle in the total of thousands, and the ruin of 500 structures.  Although investigators have not yet indicated a precise cause for the start of the fire, a Texas resident, Melanie McQuiddy, has filed a lawsuit against Southwestern Public Service Company, claiming that the utility corporation failed to properly maintain a rotting pole.

As a result, McQuiddy is certain that the poor maintenance of the utility pole and lack of attention toward any potential risks in failing to replace it contributed significantly to the pole cracking and snapping at the base and falling.  The fall allegedly ignited an electric current, which developed into a blaze that spread quickly and was difficult to control.  The inferno grew so rapidly that it could not be contained for almost a month, leaving behind about 1.2 million charred acres in the Texas Panhandle.  The resident who filed the lawsuit was personally impacted by the Smokehouse Creek fire, which is now the largest recorded fire in state history, and attributes the cause to human negligence. She is seeking damages for the loss of real property.

In addition to suing Southwestern Public Service Company, which is a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, McQuiddy is also taking legal action against Osmose Utilities Services, a contractor based in Georgia that inspects utility poles constructed of wood material.  This contractor was reportedly employed by Southwestern Public Service Company to inspect utility poles and produce reports.  According to the complaint, the contractor failed to conduct a thorough inspection of the pole in question, which might have resulted in a reasonable recommendation for service or replacement.  The Texas A&M Forest Service is now investigating to determine the origin of the blaze.