Pay­outs in Utah wild­fire

Los Angeles Times - - The Nation -

salt lake city — The De­fense Depart­ment is pay­ing home­own­ers for losses from a wild­fire that started at a Utah Army Na­tional Guard base and swept into a Salt Lake City sub­urb, a mil­i­tary of­fi­cial said Fri­day.

The De­fense Fi­nance and Ac­count­ing Ser­vice set up shop at City Hall in Her­ri­man on Fri­day, five days af­ter ma­chine gun fire at Camp Wil­liams sparked the blaze that de­stroyed three houses, dam­aged a fourth, burned down out­houses and torched ve­hi­cles.

Claims from about 200 peo­ple were be­ing paid “on the spot,” and more claims were be­ing filed, said Utah Na­tional Guard Lt. Col. Hank McIn­tire.

“This kind of govern­ment re­sponse is un­prece­dented,” McIn­tire said. “It’s not what peo­ple typ­i­cally ex­pect from the govern­ment. We’re glad to break that stereo­type.”

The claims are for fire losses and for ex­penses from an evac­u­a­tion that ini­tially kept res­i­dents out of more than 1,600 homes, he said.

Utah Army Na­tional Guard Gen. Brian Tar­bet has said he was “deeply sorry” about what he called a “sys­tem­atic fail­ure” at Camp Wil­liams, about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Tar­bet said no­body checked to see that the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice had posted a “red flag” high­wind warn­ing be­fore the ma­chine gun ex­er­cise.

Fire­fight­ers ex­pected to have the nearly 3,840-acre blaze con­tained by Fri­day evening, fire spokesman Ja­son Curry said.

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