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Rockport citizens face smokey homes, insurance claims

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Aug 20th, 2013 @ 6:45pm

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ROCKPORT, Summit County— Several Rockport homeowners returned home to clean up after the fire, and are contemplating whether the damage is bad enough to justify filing an insurance claim.

While many of these homes were saved from fire, smoke damage still left a big mess in some places. Homeowners said they discovered the insides of their homes covered with smoke and soot, and are now having to clean everything.

Derek Hughes, a homeowner who said he could see flames closing in on his house as he was pulling out of his driveway, has already filed an insurance claim.

"I've just been dealing with insurance companies, mopping, vacuuming, shampooing everything, washing clothes, washing dishes," Hughes said. "There's a haze of smoke all through the house."

One of the most important elements in filing a claim is to document all losses with pictures and even inventories, according to the Utah Insurance Commission.

A lot of homeowners also lost most of their food. Many of them said they have been grateful to the Red Cross for keeping their families fed while they put their homes back together.

"Trying to clean up and trying to take care of everything at home, it's so nice to just be able to come down here and grab lunch and not have to worry about that," said homeowner Brittney Miller.

In many cases, the area surrounding the houses has also been damaged by the fire.

"One part I love about living out here is the view and the lake, and all the vegetation," Hughes said. "Now it looks more like an apocalypse movie."

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With the vegetation gone, there is now a potential danger for flood damage and erosion. Summit County Emergency management said it is working to make sure homeowners won't have to go through possibly even worse damage when rain and snow comes in.

There is a limited amount of time between now and when winter sets in to prepare, said Kevin Callahan, Summit County Emergency manager.

The county has already secured $5,000 in federal grants for reseeding, and a number of debris basins will also likely be built. They said a proposal is currently being put together, and they hope to have the area reseeded by the end of September.

The area is steeply sloped and the soil is very erodible, Callahan said.

"Until you've got something in there that's going to root the material in place, it's very subject to a lot of land slippage," Callahan said.

Homeowners who have houses surrounded in part by charred ground, like Miller, said they could use that extra layer of protection.

"Right now we're still focusing on cleaning up what we can and stuff, so it's nerve-wracking to think about that," Miller said.


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