Fire is out, but the legal inferno continues and continues
On Jan. 6, 2004, a local plumber started a fire in my Baldy Mountain Townhome. It put me out of my home for nearly a year. Because I perform most of my work from home, I lost months of work. When most people have a fire, they lose either their home or their office.I lost both. I also lost thousands of dollars in rent that I had formerly collected from two roommates. The fire was started because my next-door neighbor went to Costa Rica for three weeks in the middle of winter and turned off his heat in an attempt to save a few dollars. On Jan. 5, 2004, his pipes burst and flooded my home as I was cooking dinner for a friend. I spent the night cleaning up his mess. The next day, the local plumber came to thaw the neighbor’s pipes and started the fire that destroyed both units. The fire released asbestos, which meant that everything not ruined by the flood, the fire, the smoke or the fire hoses had to be discarded.For 14 months, my neighbor, the local plumber, their lawyers and their insurance companies have all denied responsibility. Not one individual has offered an apology or a single dollar for assistance. In an attempt to save their money, they have accused each other, the people who built Baldy Mountain Townhomes in 1973 and others for their careless and monumentally stupid actions. Although I had a small insurance policy, which took nine months to pay, I have been forced to take out loans. Most of that money is gone, and I am tens of thousands of dollars in debt, with one creditor regularly threatening to sue me. Lawyer fees, reconstruction costs and other expenses continue to mount, pushing me toward bankruptcy and threatening my credit.Incredibly, our legal system has allowed the parties involved to stay out of court through a series of “legal” delays. Clearly, their tactic is to wait until I either go insane, give up or die, so that they never have to take responsibility. Our legal system condones their tactics by failing to provide me any support.All I want from the legal system is the opportunity to go to trial against these parties, but after 14 months there is no sign this will happen any time soon.This story is also true for one of my roommates, who lost everything but did not have renter’s insurance. In a way, she was worse off than me.Thanks for listening, Summit County.
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