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'It's like waking up to a nightmare': Family that lost home in Colorado fires grossly underinsured

Family: policy is $350k short of costs to rebuild
Posted at 11:19 AM, Jan 07, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — The Reid family's Louisville neighborhood resembles a snow-covered war zone.

"Before the snow, it looked like Baghdad," Joseph Reid said. "It's brutal."

Nearly every house is gone, including the home the Reids bought after retiring about three years ago.

They moved to Boulder County from the Atlanta area, looking for a fresh start and following their daughter and son-in-law out to Colorado. It was a move made out of necessity.

"Some years, I've spent more time sleeping in a hospital than I have at home," Joseph Reid said.

Reid's daughter is severely immunocompromised. Medical issues have had her in and out of surgery for years.

"I've had more than 100 surgeries the past 20 years or so," Joanna Reid said. "I have several neurological conditions. I have an immune deficiency. I get an infusion at the hospital every 48 hours. My partner is amazing, but he has to work. So, (my parents) take me to and from those appointments."

"One time, recently, we had to return to Atlanta for treatment," Joseph Reid said. "The neurosurgeon there said her cerebral-spinal fluid pressures were not compatible with life. She was then airlifted to Mount Sinai almost immediately, and they pulled her back. They saved her. She's enormously brave. She's my hero. I can't imagine I would be as well put together as she is under these circumstances."

Joanna Reid's conditions partially stem from skull malformation. Recently, doctors suggested a place like Colorado, with a cool, arid climate, would make a better living situation for her than Atlanta.

"One of the conditions I have is exacerbated by the heat and humidity," Joanna Reid said. "We moved to Louisville, and Louisville is just the sweetest little town."

Then came the fire.

"I thought, well, maybe we'll be leaving for a few days because of the smoke," said Joanna Reid's mother, Cindy Stark-Reid. "Never, ever, ever did it dawn on me that we would lose our house."

As if the catastrophic fire last Thursday wasn't bad enough, the Reids now realize Liberty Mutual grossly underinsured them.

"The insurance, for some reason that nobody can understand, was written at about $240,000 for the house," Joseph Reid.

The Reids bought the home three years ago for $580,000.

"There isn't a chance in hell that it can be rebuilt at that level," Joseph Reid said. "To have the home that we had and loved, we're short $300,000 to $350,000."

So, for now, a friend has launched a GoFundMe, which has raised an astonishing amount thus far.

"We're just so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives," Joanna Reid said.

However, it's still well short of what they'll need to rebuild.

"Basically, we need the insurance company to understand that this should not have happened," Joseph Reid said. "The policy should have rung bells heavily in the insurance company. Downstream for us, if we don't improve that, I don't think we'll be able to afford to continue to live in Louisville and maybe not even in some of the surrounding communities."

This story was originally published by Russell Haythorn on Scripps station KMGH in Denver.

Denver7 Gives has raised more than $400,000 and we are committed to helping families like the Reid’s with expenses related to rebuilding. We will continue to follow their story and distribute the money to those in need. If you would like to donate to the Denver7 Gives Wildfire Relief Fund, click here.