Angora fire notes
June 28, 2007
Lori London has some advice for people who lost their homes in the Angora fire.
London has been there. In August 2006, London, a criminal defense attorney, lost her home from an unknown arsonist. No one was at the Tahoe Paradise home when the fire erupted at night.
“The hardest time emotionally is probably yet to come only because you know things aren’t all that important, but they do sort of define who you are,” London said.
She referred to a comfortable couch and the smell of a home.
“I think Christmas will be very hard for these people,” she said.
On the upside, life does go on and possessions are replaceable, unlike family members, London said. She said hiring a private adjuster was one of the best moves she made.
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Although the insurance company adjuster was sympathetic, profits are on their mind, London said. The private adjuster provided value to clothing, home improvements and even a second coat of paint, London said.
“They totally got me much more money than the insurance company was willing to give me,” she said.
London said she would be open to speak with anyone on the process of rebuilding a home after a fire. The building of her new home has already begun.
Two supervisors and a house
Norma Santiago, South Shore’s representative on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, had a fire truck stationed in front of her house on Gardner Mountain prepared to fight the Angora fire when needed.
The engine assigned to the area was from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department. And who was on the engine? Santiago’s fellow supervisor, Rusty Dupray, a fire captain and medic.
Dupray called Santiago asking where her house is and parked the fire engine in her driveway, Santiago said. For her part, Santiago, who was evacuated twice, told firefighters to use her home if they wanted to wash up or get something to drink.
Santiago also praised the efforts of the community.
“This community always had a great heart and it’s really come together here,” she said.
Beware of Building Scams
Speaking of private adjusters, Hans Uthe said people who eventually decide to rebuild their homes should be wary of scams.
Unlicensed private contractors and unlicensed private adjusters could bilk people of thousands of dollars, said Uthe, assistant district attorney for El Dorado County.
Uthe advised people to ask for license numbers and check with the state agencies. In addition, people should ensure contractors have workers compensation insurance. Contractors doing more than $500 worth of work must be licensed by the Contractors State License board to work in California.
For private adjusters who come looking for work, Uthe suggested asking for the person’s insurance license and comparing it with their drivers license to ensure a proper match.
No arrests have been made, but officials plan to go into the affected areas to speak with those with damaged or destroyed homes to watch out for the scammers.
“We expect to be making arrests … We’re not going to be fooling around with them,” Uthe said.
For information about a contractor’s license history and pending or prior legal actions, call (916) 255-4041. For more information, visit http://www.cslb.ca.gov.
To get information on private insurance adjusters, call 1-800-927-4357.
To report fraud in the area, call 1-866-629-0171.
T-shirt stand attendant asked to leave
Seeing a stand selling Angora fire T-shirts at the corner of Pioneer Trail and Ski Run Boulevard earlier this week, Len Cavanaugh purchased a shirt after hearing proceeds would benefit firefighters.
But after checking with fire officials, Cavanaugh learned the T-shirt stand was not endorsed by Cal Fire or the U.S. Forest Service.
“One, I want my $15 bucks back and two, I don’t think that they should be capitalizing on our disaster taking place right now,” Cavanaugh said.
Bob Albertazzi, community resource officer for South Lake Tahoe, said he approached the stand Tuesday asking the attendants if they had the necessary permits. They didn’t. Albertazzi asked them to shut down their operations and they were gone an hour or two later.
Albertazzi said he didn’t know of the people’s motives at the stand or if they were legitimate.
Cavanaugh said a woman at the stand said she is a Yuba City medic doing the fundraiser because she lost a house in a fire years ago.
“I thought that was pretty cool,” Cavanaugh lamented.