A Santa Barbara couple recently settled a lawsuit against the owners of a nearby parcel of property whom they claim were negligent and allowed a fire to start on the property and spin out of control.
The man and woman suffered third-degree burns when they were unable to escape the subsequent wildfire. They claim they have each had to undergo dozens of surgeries and have racked up nearly $4.6 million in medical costs. They were able to settle their suit for $6 million.
The couple alleges that the owner of the parcel of property near their home knew that college students and young people frequently gathered amid the abandoned structures to have bonfires. In 2008, one of those bonfires went out of control and started what became known as the Tea Garden Fire (the parcel of property where it started was known as the Tea Garden). The fire went on to consume 210 homes and hurt more than 25 people.
The man and woman also have pending lawsuits against the 10 college students they believe started the fire. They settled their lawsuit against the owner of their rented home for $1 million.
We do not know the extent of this couple's injuries, but we are happy they have received some remuneration. Not being able to escape a raging wildfire must be a terrifying ordeal, and you do not incur almost $5 million in medical costs without the injuries being devastating. Burn injuries tend to be very difficult to treat, so we wish this couple the best as they continue their long journey to recovery.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Couple get $6-million settlement in 2008 Santa Barbara County fire," Kim Christensen, May 2, 2012