Press Release

Premier national fire litigation firm Singleton Schreiber filed a lawsuit filed today in Skamania Superior Court, Washington, alleging BNSF Railway is responsible for causing the Tunnel 5 Fire on July 2, 2023.

The complaint alleges that BNSF's negligent operation of a 46-year-old locomotive and failure to maintain the tracks, land and vegetation adjacent to the tracks caused the fire.  The catastrophic incident destroyed 10 homes and burned more than 500 acres, displacing approximately 1,000 residents and requiring the deployment of substantial firefighting resources.

The plaintiff, Lance Brooks, was forced to evacuate when his home and all his possessions were destroyed by the fire. Mr. Brooks was displaced until he found a rental property at his own expense.

“The irresponsible actions of BNSF Railway jeopardized lives, destroyed homes and exhausted the resources of the entire surrounding region,” said lead attorney and managing partner Gerald Singleton. “Lance’s out of pocket costs were extremely high, and the only reason he had to leave his home was BNSF’s negligence. The railway must be held accountable, and our lawsuit seeks to do just that.”

According to the complaint, this is not the first wildfire BNSF is accused of igniting. BNSF caused a catastrophic wildfire in 2015 in Spokane County known as the “Fish Lake Fire,” according to the Washington State Department of Resources.

The case is Lance Douglas Brooks v. BNSF Railway Co, Skamania Superior Court, Case No. 24-2-00019-30. To read the complaint, click here.

About Singleton Schreiber

With over 50 attorneys and 277 support staff and offices in California, Hawai'i, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Utah, Gerald Singleton and his team have represented more than 20,000 victims of utility fires and recovered over $2.5 billion in settlements and verdicts for its clients.

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