Family Sues Montana Power Company Over Flooding Damage

A family whose cabin along the Missouri River east of Helena, Mont., was destroyed by flooding in 2010 just weeks after a downed power line caused a fire is suing NorthWestern Energy.

The Independent Record reports the lawsuit filed Tuesday by Whitney Morgan and her family alleges NorthWestern’s failure to properly maintain its transmission system ultimately caused the property damage.

The Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s department found high winds caused a power line to arc, burn and fall over on July 16, 2010, sparking an 855-acre fire.

The lawsuit alleges heavy rains three weeks later mixed with dirt exposed by the fire, causing more than 3 feet of mud to flow into the cabin’s basement. Mold that grew afterward made the cabin unsafe to live in.

NorthWestern spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said she hadn’t seen the lawsuit.