Wednesday, December 17, 2008

California: insurance company says Santa Cruz County liable for Trabing fire

Photo of Trabing fire by Melissa Foraker

We ARE a litigious society.

Farmers Insurance Group has submitted $3 million worth of claims to Santa Cruz County in California, saying the county did not do enough to remove vegetation along county roads, which led to the spread of the Trabing fire near Watsonville. The county has denied the claims; now the ball is in Farmers' court to decide if they will sue the county.

The fire started on June 20 from hot exhaust on a vehicle on state highway 1. The state is responsible for maintenance along the state highway, but Farmers is saying the vegetation on nearby county roads caused the fire to spread and contributed to the destruction of homes.

CalFire Chief John Ferreira says the vegetation along the county roads had little to do with the spread of the fire:
"Even had the roadsides been mowed, the fire would have raced through there because of the weather conditions and dryness."
Here is a MAP of the fire.

Wildfire Today had a report on June 25 about a firefighter who lost his home in the fire while fighting another fire.

FREMONT — One of Fremont's firefighters lost his Santa Cruz County home to a wildfire last weekend as he was battling another blaze in Monterey County, fire officials said.

Richard Simon, a 25-year veteran of the fire department, was fighting fires in King City when he got word of the Trabing Fire, which started Friday afternoon and destroyed 630 acres and several homes, including Simon's, near Highway 1 north of Watsonville, said Fremont Fire Division Chief Geoff LaTendresse

Simon's family, including his wife and sons, were home at the time, but they escaped unharmed.

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