(CBS4) – Some victims of the Marshall Fire — the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history — are going to court asking for compensation. The fire destroyed more than 1,084 homes in the southeastern part of Boulder County on Dec. 30, including in Louisville and Superior.

(credit: CBS)

A lawsuit filed in Boulder County District Court names Xcel Energy as the defendant. It claims, “The sparks from a powerline ignited a ground fire that came to be known as the ‘Marshall Fire.'”

Attorney James Avery filed the lawsuit seeking a class action on behalf of the more than 1,000 home and business owners that lost their properties, telling CBS4, “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.”

It claims the power lines could have touched in the 100 mph winds, causing sparks which started the fire.

“The witnesses who saw the sparks and saw the fire ignite were in this gas station and had surveillance cameras pointed in the direction of these power lines,” said Avery.

Two homes burn in the Centennial Heights neighborhood in Louisville. (credit: Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

He says the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has the security camera system from the Shell gas station located across the street.

Xcel responded to the lawsuit stating, “…our own investigation shows that our equipment in the area of the fire was properly maintained and inspected.” It adds it has not seen evidence that its equipment ignited the fire.

On the same day the lawsuit was filed, Boulder County was given notice by Avery that it could be sued over the possibility that the fire was caused by an old underground coal mine located beneath Boulder Open Space.

The Boulder County Sheriff told CBS4 it won’t speculate on the cause — that there’s too much at stake and in a statement Thursday afternoon said the investigation into the cause and origin of the Marshall Fire is expected to take “several more months.”

The sheriff’s department says it is reviewing nearly 200 tips from the community, reviewing hundreds of videos and photographs and is interviewing hundreds of victims and witnesses.
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Rick Sallinger