Gray Fire Lawsuit Filed: 10,085 Acres Scorched; 1 Person Dead, 259 Structures Destroyed

The Gray Fire ignited at approximately 12:27 pm on August 18th, 2023 near Gray Road, west of Medical Lake. The fire rapidly spread east and southeast through Medical Lake and across I-90, displacing at least 5,000 residents in the area. 

The fire was declared 100% contained on September 1st. The fire burned 10,085 acres, destroyed an estimated 259 structures, and one fatality has been reported. Residential areas and homes sustained the most damage, and the air quality in much of Spokane County reached hazardous levels. 

On September 27th, Singleton Schreiber filed a lawsuit against Inland Power & Light Company on behalf of a Spokane County property owner who suffered damages from the fire.

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Gray Fire Investigation

The DNR’s Wildland Fire Management Division has not released details of the investigation, but investigators believe it was human-caused. Utility companies across the western United States have caused many of the worst fires the region has experienced in the last several years. 

Singleton Schreiber has filed a lawsuit against Inland Power & Light Company over failure to properly maintain its equipment and surrounding vegetation.

Triple-digit temperatures the week prior dried out vegetation, priming the area for rapid fire spread. The area was reportedly the driest it had ever been recorded during that time of year, with an 8% relative humidity. The company was aware the area was under a red flag warning for high fire risk, and that all it took was a spark. 

With the help of 20-30 mph winds and gusts up to 40 mph, the fire spread dangerously fast through wheat, dry grass, and timber. The fire quickly grew to 200 acres and by the following day had reached 9,500 acres. 

“Inland Power was very aware as a utility company that Washington is deemed a high wildfire risk area, and they should have used this knowledge to properly protect their clients and the residents of Spokane County,” said Gerald Singleton, managing partner of Singleton Schreiber. “Because of Inland Power & Light’s negligence, a life was lost, other lives were completely upended, and this community will never be the same."

Contact a Gray Fire Attorney Right Away

If you or a loved one were affected by the Gray Fire, an experienced Washington fire lawyer can get you the compensation you need to help you recover from this terrible tragedy and move on with your life.

Even if you have insurance, Singleton Schreiber’s Gray Fire lawyers can help to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve and help you explore your options if you find yourself underinsured or without insurance.

Pay no fees unless we win. We will continue to monitor the investigation as more details emerge and are here to guide you through the recovery process. Whether you rent or own your property, book your free consultation with a Spokane fire lawyer today.

Gray Fire Environmental Impact

Avista Utilities has removed over 5,000 trees from Medical Lake and surrounding areas, and that number is likely larger between firefighters, landowners, and volunteers removing dead and structurally compromised trees from the area. 

Avista said in a statement it was removing trees that pose a risk of falling on its distribution lines during future weather events. If residents have questions about risk trees on their property, they can call Avista at 1-800-227-9187. 

This is a devastating blow for the rural community. Steve Harris, the natural resource manager for the Washington DNR, said it may take at least a century to return to a fully developed forest.

Gray Fire News

Medical Lake Residents Concerned Over Smoke Damage

Spokane County residents need to be aware of the effects wildfire smoke can have on their homes, even if they survived the initial flames. The Gray Fire burned not only trees but more potentially hazardous materials such as household chemicals, cars, and plastics. 

The resulting smoke, ash, and other particulate matter can leave an unpleasant odor, pollute the air, and damage surrounding buildings. It’s important for residents to check if contaminants have entered their homes and exercise caution. Restoration companies are suggesting homeowners rent an air scrubber and launder any items that may have been exposed. 

Restoration services may also be covered under certain insurance policies. 

Required Asbestos Testing A Costly Burden for Homeowners

Homeowners whose houses were damaged or destroyed in the Gray Fire are discovering they are required to get an asbestos test before cleaning up any debris. While some have home insurance that will help cover the cost of inspection, others will likely have to come up with the money in other ways, and it isn’t cheap. 

Fulcrum Environmental Consulting said they charge between $1000-$3000 per inspection depending on each individual property and how much is burned. Many homeowners are already facing financial hardship from underinsurance and evacuation costs. 

Contact Our Spokane County Fire Lawyers

If you or a loved one have experienced a Gray Fire evacuation, property damage or loss, wrongful death, economic loss, or other damages, the expert fire attorneys at Singleton Schreiber can help you recover the fair and full compensation you need to move forward with your life.

If You Have Experienced Any of the Following, You May Be Eligible for Gray Fire Compensation:

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long did the Gray Fire last?

The Gray Fire ignited on August 18th, 2023, and was declared 100% contained on September 1st. Weather, including dry conditions and high winds, made the fire difficult for firefighters to suppress, and the fire displaced thousands of residents in Medical Lake, Silver Lake, and towards Four Lakes. 

What resources are available to Gray Fire victims?

As the investigation into the cause of the Gray Fire continues, the Medical Lake community has rallied around victims and made several resources available to those affected. Our Gray Fire Resources Page features property damage, financial support, food assistance, and other resources to aid in the recovery effort. 

If you or someone you know has been affected by the Gray Fire, contact the Washington fire lawyers at Singleton Schreiber for a free consultation today.

Can Gray Fire victims get compensation?

If it is determined that the fire was caused by an individual or entity, such as a utility company, then anyone who was affected by the Gray Fire can get compensation, including for evacuations, property damage, injuries, hospitalizations, and death. Victims can also seek compensation for increased insurance premiums and other related causes.

Can renters get compensation for the Gray Fire?

Both property owners and renters can be eligible for compensation when their personal property is damaged or destroyed in a fire. Most tenants don’t have renter’s insurance, and even if they do, the insurance companies usually don’t cover a completely devastated apartment. 

Renters can experience the same level of loss as everyone else in the community. If the fire is determined to have been sparked due to the negligence of an individual or company, you deserve to be reimbursed for your losses.

What caused the Oregon Road Fire in Washington?

The Oregon Road Fire is still under investigation, but fire officials have ruled out a natural cause. The working theory is that the fire was human-caused, which could mean anything from a cigarette butt to equipment-generated sparks to power lines. 

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