In an on-going effort to help victims of the recent Thomas Fire navigate the road to rebuilding and recovery, the Ventura Breeze will be conducting a series of in depth interviews with victims of the fires. This series of articles will cover topics such as : Insurance, where victims are currently living, how they are feeling about their losses, out of pocket expenses, time frame for re-building, and we will delve into any health-related issues affecting those who have lost home and belongings. We conducted our first interview with Ron and Barbara Dincau. Do you have a story that you would like to share? Let us know at [email protected]
From the Jan. 3, 2018 Ventura Breeze:
A few days after the house of Ron & Barbara Dincau had burnt down, Ron went to Goodwill and bought two chairs and an umbrella so that they could sit and enjoy the beautiful Ventura sunset. He said, “That is one of the main reasons that we bought the house.” You will learn more about them in an upcoming issue.
As promised here is their story.
The journey back begins-Part one
by Richard Lieberman
Ron and Barbara Dincau, Ventura residents and home owners for thirty-five years, suffered a complete loss of their home to the Thomas fire. The couple, 65 and 75 years old, evacuated in the middle of the night. “We were not prepared in any way” Barbara Dincau+ said. Their home was located near High Point and Clear Point Drives in Ventura where they raised their daughter. Ron was a high school principal in Oxnard, now retired, and Barbara, still works as a psychologist. On the night of the fire, in the middle of the night, the couple woke to flames covering the hillside. Even as they drove away, they were sure they would be back by morning. “After all, “said Ron, “Firefighters were already there battling the fire, we thought It would be knocked down quickly”, We thought we would be home by morning. “I didn’t think our house would burn down.” The next morning their house was gone. They left with nothing just the clothes they had on. Barbara evacuated wearing just her pajamas. The couple watched as an ABC Channel 7 reporter, panned the camera and they watched as their house burned down.
The interview turned to the aftermath of the fire and to some practical issues like insurance. “It is our first experience with any major claim,” Ron Dincau said. He added “From the very get go we were impressed with the adjuster.” Within ten days the Dincau’s received a check from the insurance company to cover immediate expenses. The couple consider themselves lucky. They began searching for rental housing in Ventura but were quickly thwarted by the high cost and availability of rental housing in the city. “I felt like we were on the Titanic, and had fallen off the boat,” said Barbara Dincau.” Then all of a sudden the lifeboats came.” She added. A friend and ex co-worker contacted the couple (they had not spoken for the past ten years) and offered them a large house in Camarillo she had for rent. They drove to Camarillo and signed a rental agreement that day. Not certain their insurance company would foot the bill for the rental they called the claims adjuster and were assured the company would pay for the rental for a year. “We got a check right away for the cost of the rental for one year” she said. The Dincau’s are now ‘living in Camarillo while exploring the steps to re-build their home. When rebuilding after a fire, it’s important to think about all eventualities. Preventing a house fire could be done through considering the use of stainless steel structural tubing or even a steel roofing structure. This material is less likely to catch on fire, compared to other materials such as wood for example.
The couple is still in disbelief that everything is gone. A call from their daughter, living in Santa Barbara, on the morning after the fire asked, “Were you able to save my baby pictures?” both were brought to tears, there was nothing left.