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Caldor Fire victim insurance billed $75,000. Does she have to pay out of pocket?

Grizzly Flats resident gets surprise Caldor Fire cleanup bill
Grizzly Flats resident gets surprise Caldor Fire cleanup bill 02:46

EL DORADO COUNTY - A former Grizzly Flats resident received a shocking notice this week that her insurance is being invoiced for debris removal following the Caldor Fire. 

Tami Christner said she lived in Grizzly Flats since 2013 until her home burned down in the Caldor Fire in 2021. 

The document she received Monday said the county was notifying them that they had sent her previous insurance company, AAA, an invoice for the cost of cleanup and debris removal. It totaled nearly $75,000. 

Christner said she was worried she would get stuck with part or all of the bill. 

"Getting this bill was a big shock," Christner said. "We're still just trying to start over. We're still dealing with trauma from it all. My 9-year-old still won't sleep at night."

Leaders with El Dorado County explained that during the recovery process, the county gave residents impacted the option to go into a state-run program for debris removal.

If you opted in, Carla Hass, deputy chief administrative officer for El Dorado County, said you filled out a writ of entry and stated whether or not you had homeowners insurance.

"We are reaching out to them to let them know we now know the exact cost incurred to clean up their property and that, as agreed to in the writ of entry form, we would contact their insurance to see if they had debris removal coverage in their policy," Hass said. 

Hypothetically, Hass said you should not have to pay anything out of pocket. 

"For instance, if you had a policy that had a debris removal coverage of up to $50,000 and it cost $100,000 to clean the property, the insurance company would only have to remit that $50,000, the other $50,000 is a charge off," Hass said. 

Hass emphasized that the notice sent out is not a bill to homeowners. 

"Nobody should be concerned that now all of the sudden they have to remit a bunch of out-of-pocket money that they are concerned about or that they don't have," Hass said. 

Hass said if you received a notice and have any questions, you can contact the county at 530 621-5101.

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