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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)A deadly fire in Dallas now has smart meters at the center of an investigation. The victim’s family is blaming the device that so many North Texans have in their home.

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Oncor and investigators with Dallas Fire Rescue say it’s too early to tell if the smart meter is to blame for the deadly house fire, but both parties said they’ve never seen a case where a smart meter has started a fire.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Oncor representatives were in and out of the house for nearly five hours, leaving just before 4 p.m.

Investigators took pictures of what’s left of the smart meter and all around the home of now deceased James Humphrey Junior. The 74-year-old man was in his front bedroom when the fire broke out.

(credit: Manuel Villela/CBS 11 News)

(credit: Manuel Villela/CBS 11 News)

The woman who owns the house is Humphrey’s first cousin, Alfreda Johnson. She says she believes the smart meter, that Oncor installed just four weeks ago, sparked the fire.

“They post those meters out there on these old houses… these houses are not equipped to carry those meters,” she said. “These are old houses, they cannot carry a smart meter if the wiring is not up to par.”

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Oncor issued a statement saying –

“Our thoughts are with the family in this difficult time. We are working closely with the Dallas Fire Department to understand the cause of the fire. While we understand the concerns regarding the meter, it is important to note that due to the nature and function of the advanced meters, there has been no prior instance where such a meter has caused a fire in a dwelling. Nevertheless, we look forward to completing a full investigation.”

Officials with Dallas Fire Rescue said they are waiting for Humphrey’s autopsy to be completed, but their cursory investigation has determined an unspecified electrical short was to blame for the blaze.

James Humphrey Jr. (credit: BreAshia Johnson)

James Humphrey Jr. (credit: BreAshia Johnson)

There have been reports from across the country and in Canada of smart meters causing fires.

Officials with the Texas Public Utility Commission told CBS 11 News they haven’t received any complaints of a smart meter causing a fire. But a spokesman said if the fire department finds the smart meter is to blame at the Humphrey home, the commission would be interested in hearing about it.

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