Marshall Zelinger – Denver 7 News| goo.gl/qbbFi
DENVER – Victims of the Lower North Fork Fire went to lawmakers on Tuesday with a long list of demands that include restitution and an apology.
The fire killed Ann Appel and Sam and Linda Lucas, destroyed 22 homes and burned 4,148 acres.
The blaze started as a prescribed burn set by the Colorado State Forest Service on March 22, 2012. It was not properly extinguished and escaped its boundaries on March 26.
One year later, the victim’s claims not covered by insurance are no closer to being paid.
Many of those victims went to state lawmakers Tuesday with the letter. It starts with, “On March 26,2012, the Lower North Fork Fire started by the Colorado State Forest Service killed three of our neighbors, devasted [sic] our land, burned our homes and degraded our lives forever.”
The letter from the Kuehster Road homeowners group and community asks for help.
“We want you to stand in our shoes and give this matter the attention it deserves,” the letter says. “Ask yourself what you want the state to do if it had been you, your home, your family?”
“We want to heal. We want want to stop grieving and being forced to relive this tragedy in court,” the letter says. “We want justice now so we can move on with our lives, instead of this perpetual degrading situation the AG has forced us into.”
“We are now nearly one year after the fire and not a dime has been paid to my clients, and we are still stuck on square one because of bureaucratic red tape posed to us by the Attorneys General,” said Tom Henderson, an attorney representing a number of the victims. “This is anything but real-time compensation. They didn’t have to do it that way. They could have allowed the claims board process to work through its natural course as it was designed to do by our legislature.”
The letter to lawmakers ends with, “We believe in your ability to end the pride and politics that continue to disrupt and delay our rightful judicial process, and help us become whole again.”