(Bloomberg) -- A unit of Xcel Energy Inc. was sued over claims that broken power equipment started the worst wildfire in Texas history, which has charred more than 1 million acres and killed two people. 

The blaze was sparked on Feb. 26 when a single wooden utility pole owned by Xcel’s Southwestern Public Service Co. snapped amid high winds, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Texas state court.

The complaint was filed on behalf of a person whose property was destroyed by the Smokehouse Creek Fire. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Mikal Watts has represented numerous claimants in multibillion-dollar wildfire settlements with other power companies, including California’s PG&E Corp., which was driven into bankruptcy in 2019 after its power lines set off some of the worst fires that state has ever seen. 

Xcel said in a statement that that it’s working with first responders and local officials to support the power needs of Texas Panhandle communities, “while safely restoring power to customers where possible.”

“We will cooperate with officials while conducting our own investigations to determine the causes of the fires,” according to the statement.

The suit alleges negligence for failure to properly inspect and maintain utility poles and seeks unspecified monetary damages.

“Utility-caused wildfires are a pandemic of repetitive man-made catastrophes across the western United States,” according to the complaint. 

America’s power companies are facing increasing pressure to gird their systems against the growing threat of wild weather spurred by climate change. Utilities in the US have been hit with billions of dollars in wildfire claims from equipment failures during high winds and under dry conditions. Xcel already faces lawsuits that accuse one of its utilities of starting the most destructive fire in Colorado history, which state officials concluded was caused in part by a power line that snapped.

Xcel has lost almost $4.5 billion of market value since the utility owner said Thursday that a law firm it didn’t name had asked it to preserve evidence of a downed pole near the starting point of the Texas fire. The company’s shares closed down 5.9% at $49.57 on Friday, for a market capitalization of $27.5 billion.

Read More: Texas Fires Trigger Drop for Xcel With Law Firm Alleging Link

Warren Buffett, whose PacifiCorp utility faces multibillion-dollar wildfire claims, told investors in his annual letter last week that electric utilities no longer appear to be safe investments due to losses incurred from more frequent forest fires. 

Watts’s suit also named Osmose Utilities Services, which it says Xcel hired to inspect and report on power poles, as a defendant.

Osmose didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Updates with details of allegations and Xcel statement.)

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