Carlsbad man whose home was damaged in Poinsettia Fire now in battle with insurance company

CARLSBAD, Calif. - A North County man with smoke damage from the Poinsettia Fire is in a battle with his insurance company.

John Vrab claims the company refuses to pay for cleaning, even though he said it was approved.

In May, the flames raced next to Vrab's rental home on Skimmer Court in Carlsbad.

"We had five minutes to leave, basically," said Vrab.

He was able to take several photos as he rushed to evacuate. He told Team 10 when he returned, the home was unlivable due to the smoke damage.

"My son has asthma. I don't want to go back into a house that's going to be unhealthy for us," he said.

Vrab hired a hazmat company to clean his family's personal items. It was something he said his insurance company, State Farm, approved.

However, State Farm came back with a smoke impact assessment report. An outside company did a visual inspection and collection of surface samples from the home.

The report said it can't provide a "definitive conclusion regarding damage."

Vrab said State Farm then stopped helping his family, saying the damage was not bad enough.

Vrab and his family eventually moved to a rental in Carlsbad.

Many of his items are still in boxes, and the cost of moving and cleaning all the belongings in their Skimmer Court home cost more than $150,000.

"I guess when the time came to pay for all those services, they were not ready for the bill," said Vrab.

Team 10 received a statement from State Farm that said, in part, that the "claim has not been denied" but that they "cannon speak about the specifics of this claim."

More than three months after the Poinsettia Fire, Vrab said he doesn't know when his life will return to normal.

"I realize they're out to make a profit, but there's a little more involved here than that, and they should have done the right thing," said Vrab.

Team 10 also asked State Farm for more detail on how they measure smoke damage and how bad the damage has to be before a claim is met.

The company has not responded to Team 10.

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