Veteran loses everything in Lilac Fire

Posted at 7:34 PM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 22:40:46-05

FALLBROOK, Calif. (KGTV) -- A local veteran is struggling to figure out how to rebuild his home after the Lilac Fire tore through the Rancho Monserate Mobile Home Park in Fallbrook.

Dan and Pat Damon bought their dream home 5 years ago. "We used to sit out there right in that back patio and say hey this is it, this is what we love, but it was not to be," said Dan Damon.

Damon served his country during the Vietnam War; when he got out of the military, he became a musician.

Sadly, seven of his eight keyboards burned in the fire. He especially enjoys performing for local veterans at VFW halls and senior centers.

"I've always been, tried to be a good patriot and it was pretty deep," said Damon.

He's done so much charity work in the area the local American Legion surprised him with a statue of an American Eagle.

It is the only thing still standing on his block. "It's kind of a meaning for us, my wife and I to be able to go forward. We're going to have this here, on the lot, it will stay with us, be our incentive," said Damon.

The couple is determined to rebuild, but it will be difficult. Damon says his homeowner's insurance expired in September. When he went to renew, he was told he couldn't get a policy because he lives in an area considered high risk for fires.

"They said we can't do that because the high fire district here, won't allow our policy right across the board," said Damon. He regrets that he didn't shop for a new policy right away. "They said wait a little bit, we might be able to by the first of the year, cause we are re-assessing, that kind of thing," said Damon.

It's a decision he wishes he never made. "I regret now that I could've maybe gone into the risk pool or something like that," said Damon. California's Insurance Commissioner says there is another option for homeowners who can't get coverage through the commercial market. The state's FAIR plan offers fire coverage for property owners in urban and rural areas.

In spite of California's recent fires, state officials say what happened to Damon is not common. "In some parts of the state, in some areas, with some insurers they're making the decision that there is too much risk for that home to write insurance," said California State Commissioner Dave Jones.

Jones said they're not seeing a significant increase in homeowners opting for the FAIR plan, but that could change.

"What I worry about is that in the wake of these most recent fires where parts of California burned that have historically been considered to be of lower risk, insurers will update their models and we will see more of this kind of problem," said Jones.

Damon is focused on moving ahead. "Always forward never backwards and we're going to do it, my biggest thing is to get the means to do it," said Damon.

Click here for a link to the GoFundMe account.