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Ventura Fire Victims Now Facing Over The Top Water Bills

VENTURA (CBSLA) — They already have so much to deal in the recovery of the Thomas Fire. Now many people have another thing to worry about. Huge water bills.

Skylar Fahlman just got a termination notice over her unpaid water bill at the home she hasn't been able to live in since the Thomas Fire forced her out on Dec.  4.

"The statement says November 23 through January 8 and we were in  tier 6. The bill is over $500 dollars. we haven't been here." Fahlman said.

She and her family aren't alone. Plenty of their neighbors have also received higher bills while not being able to live in their homes.

One resident says he has three cycles of bills all in the $300 range and then after the fire when he and his wife weren't there his bill hit $550.

Neighbor after neighbor said the same thing.

"It's about twice as much based on the time that we've been here." David Paillette said.

Mariglo Esherick's home was destroyed.

"Yes I did receive a water bill for the month of November and December, obviously I don't have a home anymore," Esherick said.

She says she's received refunds from the electric and gas companies.

Fahlman is hoping for some resolve, not just for her, but all of her neighbors.

She says they helped during the fire, using their water hoses to keep their house from burning down and they also tried to save their neighbors homes. She says they even gave water to firefighters.

"We were doing what are fire hydrants weren't."

The Ventura Water Company says they are working with customers and released a statement that reads in part:

Variations are not uncommon during the recovery process. There is a policy to adjust abnormally high bills and customers are urged to call 805-667-6500.

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