Xcel Energy Admits Role in Starting Record Breaking Catastrophe

They ADMITTED It - Lawsuits Pouring In!

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2007

For weeks, extensive fires have swept through the Texas panhandle bordering Oklahoma, scorching over 1 million acres since their onset. Among them, one blaze has become the largest on record in Texas. An energy company has recently acknowledged its involvement in the disaster.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), commenced on February 26, amidst a series of five fires in the panhandle region that week. However, it outstripped the others in scale, fueled by dry, windy weather conditions that facilitated rapid expansion. By March 7, the fire had engulfed over 1,059,000 acres, surpassing the size of Rhode Island.

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The fire has extended its reach into Oklahoma. Alongside the Smokehouse blaze, three other fires, namely the Windy Deuce Fire, the Magenta Fire, and the Grape Vine Creek Fire, continue to rage. Tragically, the fires have claimed the lives of at least two individuals and numerous cattle.

Xcel Energy made a statement on March 7, accepting accountability for the Smokehouse fire. According to the Texas Tribune, the company acknowledged that its facilities seem to have played a role in igniting the fire, based on the information currently available.

The company’s statement further expressed its cooperation with authorities and simultaneous undertaking of an independent assessment. While acknowledging the possibility of its facilities initiating the fire, the statement refuted any claims of negligence on the company’s part. It encouraged individuals affected by the fire to file claims for their lost property or livestock.

As per the report, lawyers have requested the company to retain a fallen utility pole allegedly located close to the fire’s origin point. Lawsuits have already been initiated against the company, including one filed by homeowner Melanie McQuiddy on March 1. McQuiddy asserted that the pole ignited upon falling and filed her suit in Hemphill County.

In the expansive rural landscape of Texas, homes are frequently situated miles apart from each other. Numerous towns rely on volunteer fire departments to provide coverage for their regions. This is exemplified in Fritch, where the Smokehouse fire originated.

Gena Wells, employed at the Stinnett Volunteer Fire Department, informed the Texas Tribune that she received a report of a nearby fire. She was among the initial responders to the nascent blaze. Expressing her immediate fear, an emotion she hadn’t experienced previously, Wells recounted how the firefighters endeavored to extinguish the flames. Despite their efforts, they struggled to apply sufficient water to douse it. Attempts were made to contain it at the highway, but the fire rapidly surged beyond control.

The NOAA published a video demonstrating the rapid spread of the initial flames, confirming Wells’ account. By March 8, the Smokehouse Creek Fire had reached 87% containment.