Highlands Ranch HOA sues Xcel Energy over dual wildfires

The two Douglas County wildfires were sparked by a four-year gap between Excel Energy Equipment and the company’s failure to properly maintain its infrastructure, according to a lawsuit filed by the Homeowners’ Association this week.

For BackCountry Association lawyers, the Xcel power poles for the 1,200 homeowners’ association in the Highland Ranch Chatge neighborhood will have 205-acre wildfires in 2016 and a second 461-acre wildfires in the same area by 2020. Like Challenge 1 and Challenge 2, forced displacement and intimidation of homes.

The first fire broke out on October 28, 2016, near Charity Court and Highway 85. Firefighters said part of the power pole fell to the ground where the fire broke out. The second fire, June 29, 2020, started in the same area as “hot hardware” ignited on an electric pole, according to the lawsuit.

The fire started in one area but not at exactly the same power pole, said Eric Hrst, a spokesman for South Metro firefighters.

“When the two fires were close and their burn scars were overlapping, the starting points were different,” he said, adding that both were caused by X-ray equipment.

In December 2021, the third fire in what is known as Chatridge 3 broke out in the area. Authorities could not determine the cause.

HOA attorneys argue that Xcel was negligent and failed to maintain the device properly, putting the area at risk of “unreasonable damage” by wildfires. In the case, Excel refused to share the internal investigation into the fire unless a summons was issued to South Metro Fire Rescue.

Xcel spokeswoman Michel Aguaio did not comment on the allegations and did not comment on pending disputes, but Excel follows “industry best practices in designing, building and operating our systems.”

Lawyers for BackCountry did not respond to a request for comment.

The homeowners’ association said the fire had reduced property prices, damaged the natural beauty of the area, caused soil erosion and other damage.

As investigators continue to investigate the cause of the Marshall fire in Boulder County, the state’s deadliest wildfire erupted on December 30.

The fire was initially blamed on the collapsed Xcel power lines, but officials backtracked, saying Xcel’s failed lines were not power lines. The cause of the Marshall fire is being investigated, although the utility has been accused of causing the blaze.

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