SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Fire Victim Trust (FVT) announced today that individuals who have filed claims for significant losses suffered in the Butte Fire (2015), North Bay Fires (2017) and Camp Fire (2018) are eligible to receive preliminary payments of up to $25,000. Distribution of the payments, which will be deducted from the amount of total compensation claimants receive, will commence as early as Thanksgiving. The FVT will continue to evaluate claims and process payments on an ongoing basis.
“We have a crisis on our hands and must act immediately. Fire victims suffering from wildfire losses have had their misery compounded by this year’s devastating events. The pandemic caused the already slow post-fire economic recovery to grind to a halt, further complicating the lives of fire victims. Meanwhile, the most catastrophic fire season in California history has not only brought weeks of unhealthy air but contributed to crippling stress as memories of past fires came alive,” said Justice John K. Trotter (Ret.), Trustee of the FVT. “While we are working diligently to ensure everyone is compensated as soon as possible, we realize that implementing a plan to distribute a portion of funds in advance can make a real difference in families’ day-to-day lives. This is something we have to do.”
Collectively, the 2015-2018 fires burned over 460,000 acres and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, businesses and other structures in regions of California that are home to a disproportionate number of retired, disabled, veteran, and economically disadvantaged individuals. Thousands of people sought refuge in their vehicles, emergency tent communities or FEMA camps, and many remain displaced. The FVT, which began accepting claims in August 2020, anticipates receiving as many as 80,000 claims.
“Tens of thousands of Californians lost loved ones, homes, precious belongings, and businesses in these disastrous fires, along with a sense of stability and well-being. We recognize that being patient throughout what has been a long and complex legal ordeal – and now, during this claims process – has not been easy. We look forward to the day in the near future when every single person impacted by the fires has been fully compensated as they so deserve,” said Justice Trotter.
PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas & Electric Company filed for bankruptcy relief in January 2019. On July 1, 2020, the Bankruptcy Court established the FVT as part of the Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization to administer, resolve and compensate the victims of the Butte Fire, North Bay Fires and Camp Fire. The FVT is administered under the direction of Trustee Justice Trotter and Claims Administrator Cathy Yanni, who were appointed by the Bankruptcy Court. They have extensive experience overseeing complex claims resolution and compensation programs.
Fire victims who filed claims with the Bankruptcy Court against PG&E in 2019 and complete claims questionnaires available at FireVictimTrust.com are eligible to receive a preliminary payment.
About the Fire Victim Trust
Under the direction of the Trustee, the Honorable John K. Trotter (Ret.), and the Claims Administrator, Cathy Yanni, the Fire Victim Trust provides an efficient and equitable process to compensate Fire Victims for both economic and noneconomic damages caused by these fires, including destruction or damage to real estate and personal property, additional living expenses, lost wages, business losses, emotional distress, personal injury and death. For more information, visit FireVictimTrust.com.