Friday, December 5, 2008

Washington: Neighbors sue surgeon over wildfire damage

From the Spokesman Review in Spokane, Washington:
People who lost homes and other property to a massive fire this summer are suing the woman who’s been blamed for it.

More than 20 people are listed as plaintiffs against Tracy Berg, a surgeon at Sacred Heart Medical Center, and the 16-year-old boy Berg allowed to set a recreational fire in an old tree stump near her home on South Eastern Road.

The fire the boy started July 7 smoldered for days before high winds on July 10 sparked flames that grew into the 1,000-acre Valley View fire that burned 11 homes sand cost more than $3 million to fight, according to a report by the state Department of National Resources released last week.

The state forwarded its report to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if criminal charges will be filed. The state had issued a burn ban a week before Berg allowed the boy to start the fire in the stump, which she told investigators her family had used as a fire pit since 1995.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. Two of the plaintiffs lost homes; the others had their homes or properties damaged by the fire, according to the lawsuit.

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