2017 has definitely been a hot year for Los Angeles. With a record-breaking amount of numerous fires we’ve had this year, locals may have felt a sigh of relief once the cold season finally swept through the city. Unfortunately, powerful gusts of winds caused not one, but TWO fires to erupt one day after another. The fires began around early morning (2-4 am) on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, causing thousands to flee their home.
In a recent news briefing, the Ventura County Fire Chief, Mark Lorenzen mentioned “the prospects for containment are not good.” The two fires can be distinguished by the names “Thomas Fire” and the “Creek Fire.”
The Thomas Fire in Ventura county has ordered evacuations among 27,000 people. As of this writing, the gigantic flame has already scorched 45,500 acres. Within this hot dismay, reports have concluded that over 150 structures have been completely destroyed. Even as of 7 am this morning, the fire has yet to be contained. With over 1,000 firefighters on the job, many are diligently working to try and prevent any further damage from spreading. Winds of over 50 mph continuously battle our firefighters from being contained. Early Tuesday morning the Ventura County Fire Department warned the conditions are expected to worsen. Though more information on Ventura’s evacuation can be found on their website, the following are some of the evacuation shelters that are aiding nearby victims:
Like the Thomas Fire, the Creek fire made a horrendous impact. Just overnight 4,000 acres became scorched. Now (as of this writing), a confirmed 110,000 acres have been destroyed in this fire. Though no injuries have yet been reported, firefighters have been patrolling surrounding areas like Glendale, in hopes of restricting any opportunity for the fire to spread. Due to the cataclysmic change in routine, every day freeways like the 210, were shut down. The affected neighborhoods include San Fernando, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, La Crescenta-Montrose, and Burbank.
While mandatory evacuation centers are open to victims, others remain missing. The most important thing to do in times of urgency is to calm down, and breathe. Rash decisions are made when people are filled with adrenaline. Though times of urgency can be difficult, staying safe is the best thing you can do. Google has provided up to date information on evacuations and alerts. The site mentions different evacuation centers for Creek Fire victims including:
Times like this are why it's important to stick together. Below are some fire-damage safety tips composed by the team here at JT Legal Group. For emergencies call 911 immediately.
1. Go to a Red Cross station. There you'll get a debit card to get you through the next few days. Maybe a few hundred dollars or so to buy stuff like clothing, toiletries, etc.
2. Contact your insurance company. If your car is insured with the same company as your home, you have their phone # on the insurance card in your glove compartment. Your insurance company should be able to get you in a temporary hotel immediately and set up temporary residence shortly after.
3. Begin logging EVERYTHING. Your mind will be spinning. You'll think you'll remember stuff but you won't. Log every contact from every name of every person who has contacted you.
4. Go to the bank and get some cash. You may be amazed how good old-fashioned money in your wallet can help you get items that a credit card might not have.
5. Keep every receipt. You'll spend from the initial loss through the whole ordeal. Every meal, every tank of gas, everything. It's all now related to your fire and re-reimbursable if it's something you wouldn't have spent if you didn't have a fire.
6. Know your expenses. Even if you've only been evacuated and end up not losing anything to fire, your expenses while displaced are all covered by your homeowner's policy. It's called "Loss of Use". Keep those receipts, logs and records in order to recover your expenses.
7. Seek legal assistance and representation. A trusted attorney will ensure your claim is handled correctly every step of the way, from initially opening the claim to settling your claim for the best possible amount. Without a trusted attorney to help defend your interests during this time of need, you may be subject to getting your well-deserved claim belittled with a very small amount, or even rejected.
Don’t Settle for Less.
-- Jack Ter-Saakyan, Esq.
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