‘Bomb House’ to be burned down but who’s liable for any damage?
The safety walls are going up around the Escondido 'Bomb Factory' to protect the surrounding homes on either side of the house when it's burned down.
KUSI's Ed Lenderman has the latest, including the liability issues the plan raises.
The whole process depends a lot on the weather, but the goal is to have everything ready to go by next week.
A neighbor shared video with KUSI of workers moving materials into place, as well as the start of the construction of protective metal walls with fire-resistant drywall that will serve as barriers between the 'bomb house' and its nearest neighbors.
Officials plan to burn down the house early next week, and they will take every safety precaution. The metal walls, as well as the two homes on either side, will be coated with a flame-resistant gel.
Experts say the explosives inside the home will burn quickly and the environmental impact should be minimal.
The liability issues involved with burning down the house, as well as possible damage to the other homes, are also being addressed, although all the specifics won't be known until after the actual act.
Crews also cleared brush, plants, trees and wood fences from the bomb house Thursday, obviously anything that could catch fire.
The County's website has all the information on the burning plan. County spokesperson Michael Workman told KUSI the county has been in touch with the bomb home's owner, who in turn has been in touch with her insurance company.
The home was being rented by 54-year-old George Jakubec, who remains in jail on 5-million dollars bond. But because this has been declared a State of Emergency– Governor Schwarzenegger signed off on the proclamation Wednesday– the county isn't obligated to compensate the property owner.
“We feel badly,” Workman told KUSI's Ed Lenderman, “because it's a nightmare for the owner, but there's no other way around it– this is an unprecedented event involving public safety and health.”
We also talked with Daniel Gilleon, an Insurance Attorney who said, “at this point, you'd have to look at whether the homeowner had reason to know this was in existence, even though most landlords have the right to give 24 hours notice to inspect a property, California doesn't require that to happen.”
Should the owner, identified by property tax records as Michele Holt, have known about what was going on in the house by simply visiting the property, is obviously a conversation Holt is having with her insurance company.
Spokesperson Workman says the county has confidence in the plan and doesn't expect the other homes to be effected by the fire. But that if there is damage, the owners could file a claim.
Neighbors own homeowner's insurance should cover their loss of use, so if they have to move out and go to a hotel, that should be covered by their own policy.