Leading national fire litigation firm Singleton Schreiber filed a lawsuit against Inland Power & Light Company alleging the utility company is responsible for the Gray Fire that ignited on August 18, 2023.
The lawsuit filed in Washington State Superior Court claims Inland Power is responsible for destroying nearly 11,000 acres and 240 residential structures, as well as other buildings.
According to the complaint, Inland Power’s powerlines and infrastructure ignited surrounding vegetation. The fire quickly spread killing one person and displacing thousands from their homes, due to the faulty electrical equipment. The Defendants designed their powerlines to be uninsulated, bare, and/or uncovered carrying high voltage electricity that posed an increased risk of igniting should they come into contact with vegetation or other electrical equipment.
Winds at the time of the fire were 18 m.p.h. gusting to 40 m.p.h. from the W/S/W. Ambient temperature was 92F with a relative humidity of 8%. This weather combination supports "red flag" warning fire conditions.
The complaint further states that Inland Power failed to inspect and remove nearby vegetation and negligently designed and constructed their powerlines so that they would reenergize too soon after being deenergized, which in turn resulted in a dangerous outcome when faced with unfavorable weather conditions.
“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.”
The complaint goes on to state that the Defendants knew that the dry weather, high temperatures, and high winds predicted would result in a single spark causing a catastrophic uncontrollable wildfire. They also knew that if their overhead electrical equipment started a fire, it would spread at a critically fast rate to the Plaintiff’s property, without warning and without sufficient time to evacuate safely, to gather their pets, or to collect their other possessions. Despite this, Inland Power left their powerlines energized during a high fire threat and failed to deenergize their powerlines amidst known fire risks.
There will be a town hall to answer any questions regarding this lawsuit.
Spokane Town Hall:
- Date: October 10th @ 5:30p – 7:30p
- Location: The Woman’s Club of Spokane (1428 West 9th Avenue Spokane, Washington 99204)
This case is Akir Fowlkes v. Inland Power & Light Company, Case No. 23-2-04004-32, Superior Court of the State of Washington, County of Spokane.
Premier Wildfire Attorneys
With over 50 lawyers and 230 employees, Singleton Schreiber has offices throughout the western United States and Hawaii. Mr. Singleton and his team have represented more than 13,000 victims of utility fires and has recovered over $2.5 billion in settlements and verdicts on their behalf. With offices in Spokane, Seattle, and Vancouver, the firm stands ready to serve the people of Washington.