Factory Fire Update: Survivors Receive Initial Funds; lawsuit develops

WEED, Calif. — About 80 fire survivors received initial financial assistance Sept. 13 during the first day of Roseburg Forest Products’ $50 million Community Relief Fund being distributed to residents of Weed, Shastina Lake and nearby affected communities by the mill fire.

Independent administrators assisted residents with claims to cover immediate needs such as temporary housing, transportation, food and clothing, and medical issues. Roseburg began distributing funds from the company’s Community Relief Fund less than two weeks after the fire began on September 2.

Residents receiving assistance will not be asked to waive any claims.

“Roseburg is very grateful for the patience and response of a number of affected families who now have initial funds to meet their immediate needs,” said company spokesperson Pete Hillan. “Tuesday was just the start of our efforts to help people recover now instead of waiting years for financial support.”

People coming to the Community Center can choose to be represented by a lawyer. However, it is not necessary to be represented to participate in this Fund. In addition, people who accept money from the Fund will only be asked to sign a receipt, so that the Fund has an accurate record of the amount paid. Individuals will not be asked to waive any claims they may have relating to the fire as a condition of receiving benefits from the Fund.

The lawsuits are on the rise
According to local media reports, the number of people joining the lawsuits against Roseburg is increasing. The News Review reported on September 14 that more than 100 people have joined a civil lawsuit against Roseburg, including the families of two people who died in the fire that swept through communities near the Roseburg veneer plant. in weed.

The fire killed two people and destroyed 4,000 acres of forest, 144 homes and other structures, including those of a historic community of African Americans who settled in the area during the Great migration of black men and women from the south.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Siskiyou County man against Roseburg Forest Products at the start of the plant fire.

TV station KRCR reported that lawyers for Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer and Frankel have filed suit on behalf of Tim Smith, who lost his home to Weed in the Mill Fire. The lawsuit seeks damages resulting from the destruction of Smith’s home and personal property, all of which were destroyed. The lawsuit also seeks damages for bodily injury resulting from Smith being forced to flee the fire.

Additionally, the Mercury News reported on a family who lost their home to the fire this month. The lawsuit, the newspaper reported, was filed in Sacramento County Superior Court by Nichole and Shayne Hammond, who also name their three children as plaintiffs. The lawsuit accuses Roseburg of acting with “negligence and conscious disregard” for the safety of the community by failing to ensure the safety of its plant’s operations and putting profits first.

Roseburg Forest Products Co., operators of the veneer plant at the center of the plant fire, are investigating whether the possible failure of a water spray machine from a third-party equipment manufacturer has led to the ignition of the September 2 structural fire.