Central Texas Utility Sues Tree Trimmer Over Fires

September 13, 2013

A Central Texas utility has filed a $35 million lawsuit against a tree-trimming company over 2011 wildfires that destroyed nearly 1,700 homes.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that the lawsuit filed by Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative names Asplundh Tree Expert Co. of Willow Grove, Pa.

Officials with Asplundh, which had a contract to maintain vegetation along Bluebonnet power lines, declined comment Thursday.

Bluebonnet has been sued by more than 50 homeowners in Bastrop County, 30 miles east of Austin, whose residences burned. A Texas A&M Forest Service investigation found the Labor Day 2011 blaze was started when strong winds knocked down trees that crashed into overhead power lines, causing sparks.

A Bluebonnet spokesman says the utility, which seeks repair costs and plus legal fees, sued to protect ratepayers.

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