Insurance companies sue Army over 2010 Machine Gun Fire in Herriman

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013 11:51 a.m. MDT

Tracy Gibbons looks on as the so-called Machine Gun fire rages above Herriman on Sept. 19. The fire burned several homes, forced many to evacuate, and consumed more than 4,000 acres.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

HERRIMAN — Farmers Insurance and State Farm are suing the Army to recover $1.3 million in claims paid out as the result of a devastating wildfire in Herriman three years ago.

The Utah National Guard touched off the blaze Sept. 19, 2010, while conducting live-firing exercises at Camp Williams despite weather conditions conducive to the threat of fire. Flames quickly spread to neighboring Herriman.

Known as the Machine Gun Fire, it consumed 4,300 acres, burned down three houses and forced the evacuation of at least 1,600 homes.

The Guard accepted responsibility for the fire and within days set up a claims center for residents whose homes or property were damaged.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, the two insurance companies say the Guard failed to consider the weather and fire hazard before conducting the training exercise.

Farmers seeks to recover $1.1 million, while State Farm seeks $216,500.

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