Hickenlooper signs bills to pay Lower North Fork Fire victims

Hickenlooper signs bills to pay Lower North Fork Fire victims

http://kdvr.com/2012/06/04/gov-to-sign-bills-to-pay-lower-north-fire-fire-victims/

DENVER — Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills into law Monday that will make it easier for victims of the Lower North Fork Fire to get compensation from the state.

Several of the fire victims attended the bill signing at the Capitol and thanked lawmakers for responding so quickly.

“Often the wheels of government move very slowly,” said Tom Scanlan, whose home was damaged in the fire. “And this happened remarkably fast.”

A controlled burn set by the Colorado State Forest Service was responsible for starting the wildfire in Jefferson County in March that killed three people and damaged or destroyed more than two dozen homes.

In the past there has been a maximum liability for the state of $600,000.

“This was an activity that was sanctioned by the state, it was prescribed by the state, and there should be some responsibility by the state,” Hickenlooper said.

Sam Lucas, whose parents were killed in the fire, is hopeful that the process will pay dividends.

“We do look forward to moving forward in the process, being able to submit our claim to the claim board,” Lucas said.

Scott Appel, who lost his wife, is also hopeful.

”We’re all looking forward to a process that hopefully will be fair and quick so we can all start to move forward with our lives,” Appel said.

But all the victims, each of whom received one of the pens Hickenlooper used to sign the bill into law, left the Capitol Monday knowing that there’s no guarantee they’ll receive any redress from the state.

“This is a promise that the state is going to look at whether or not they’re going to help us, not a promise that they are going to help us,” Scanlan said. “And so there’s still a long road to go here.”




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