The vast majority of California homeowners have insurance that covers fire damage. But that doesn’t mean you can breathe easy.
Property insurance lawyers say it’s not uncommon for insurers to do everything possible to minimize payouts, especially after catastrophic blazes such as the ones now raging in Northern and Southern California.
Some policies may require homeowners to report any such damage within 90 days to qualify for coverage. Others may cap coverage at a certain level, frequently $5,000.
The husky in the online photo had burned ears and a brown spot on her forehead where the fire had singed her fur. But one look at the expression on her face, and Wade Lovett knew he had found his dog.
“She had this pout, and that's her face. As soon as I saw that, I said, ‘That's Luna,’ ” Lovett said. “She’s a beautiful dog, but when she pouts, she pouts.”
He had last seen her two days earlier, as he packed his neighbor’s truck and prepared to leave Paradise, the town he’s lived in his whole life, as the Camp fire barreled toward him. Luna was perched in the front seat and after somehow rolling the window down with her paw, she bolted. Lovett followed her by truck and by foot for nearly an hour, until the flames got too close.
An untold number of homeowners have had their lives upended by the Woolsey fire. Few, however, may have felt the fire’s destructive power more than Mark Bakalor.
On Thursday night, not long after the fire first roared to life, Bakalor and his family fled their Oak Park house as the flames approached.
Bakalor then turned his attention to his parents, who had lived for years in a house on Lobo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills, and to his in-laws, who lived in Bell Canyon. For Bakalor, both houses were too close to the fire, which was spreading quickly and in several directions at once.
The two badly burned bodies found at 33133 Mulholland Highway late Friday afternoon appear to be victims of the fast-moving Woolsey fire, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau Sgt. Guillermo Morales.
“We do not think they were residents of that location; those people have been accounted for,” Morales said. “We think they were trying to evacuate, and we kind of know who they might be, but we’re waiting for the coroner to do the identification.”
The bodies were found in the driver’s and front passenger seats of a charred SUV that had been burned so badly investigators couldn’t see its markings, Morales said. Investigators think the driver got disoriented in the fire and turned in the driveway, thinking it was a roadway, while trying to escape.
Firefighters were battling two new fires in Ventura County on Monday.
Aerial video by NBC Los Angeles showed flames licking the edges of the 118 Freeway near Simi Valley as the Peak fire forced drivers to turn their cars around and drive the wrong way on the freeway.
By 12:45 p.m., the Peak fire had grown to 105 acres, but firefighters had stopped its growth and were beginning to extinguish and remove burning material. Authorities ordered immediate evacuations for residents in the areas of Box Canyon and Lake Manor, south of the 118 in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County.
IMMEDIATE EVACUATION ORDER: Areas of Box Canyon and Lake Manor, Unincorporated Los Angeles. South of the 118 Freeway. Fast moving brush fire.
Stocks of California’s two largest utility owners, PG&E Corp. and Edison International, plummeted again Monday as investors feared that the deadly wildfires raging in the state could leave the utilities with massive liabilities.
It was the stocks’ worst drubbing since the California power crisis more than 15 years ago.
The long, twisting roadways of Malibu looked like a moonscape Monday. The streets through the Santa Monica Mountains, damaged in places, were framed by scorched speed limit signs and drooping power lines.
The fire had burned unevenly, leaving some swaths of land barren and gray. In other areas, unscathed trees and vineyards swam into view in vivid technicolor. Solar panels glinted from scorched hillsides.
The silence was punctuated by the beep-beep-beep of utility trucks, the whir of helicopters dropping water and the roar of the wind blowing ash and dust across the hills.