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Report details cause of Wood Hollow Fire; residents contemplate lawsuit

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Jul 10th, 2012 @ 6:18pm


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SANPETE COUNTY — The release of an investigator's report on the Wood Hollow Fire Tuesday helped to paint a clearer picture of exactly what caused the Sanpete County wildfire.

The fire killed a man, destroyed more than 50 homes and scorched tens of thousands of acres. Now an investigator in the State Fire Marshal's office has made the conclusion a power line is the cause, and victims of the fire seem anxious to file lawsuits.


They have every intention of helping us make the people who are responsible, whoever it is, suffer some consequences to make it right for the people that lost everything.

–Clyde Holm, fire victim


Clyde Holm was still cleaning up from the fire Tuesday morning. While his home was not destroyed, it is unlivable.

"It scorched the logs on our house and all of the pillars on one side," Holm said.

Monday night, Holm and other victims of the fire met with a law firm to inquire about pursuing legal action on a contingency basis.

"They have every intention of helping us make the people who are responsible, whoever it is, suffer some consequences to make it right for the people that lost everything," Holm said.

The fire investigator's report found the cause of the Wood Hollow Fire to be an arc of electricity jumping from one Rocky Mountain Power pole to another. Once the current hit the second pole, it traveled the easiest route it could find to the ground — a support wire — and sparked the fire.

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Instead of going down the support wire, the electricity should have come down a copper wire. That wire, however, had been cut by copper thieves before the fire was sparked.

KSL News contacted Rocky Mountain Power for a response to the report, but representatives said they wouldn't talk about it. However, they did say they don't believe it is the final report on the cause of the fire.

In our visit to the site Tuesday, we also noticed how easily the wind picks up the ash and swirls it around. In some places, heavy dust storms are being created in the fire zone.

Federal land managers were surveying the area Tuesday, preparing for a major reseeding project that will begin in the fall.

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