Fort Coffee VFD faces negligence suit in March fire

By Kim RossPDN ReporterA Fort Coffee woman is suingthe community volunteer firedepartment for what she contendsis negligence that led to fire consumingher home.Ester Clayton, 82, of Fort Coffeefiled a civil lawsuit against theFort Coffee Fire Department onThursday, asking for more than$10,000 in damages to her homewhich resulted from an earliercontrolled burn started by the firedepartment on March 3.According to the petition,Clayton contends that the firedepartment burned an abandonedmobile home located next toClayton’s home at 18290 First St.Clayton said the fire departmentfailed to properly extinguish thefire before they left the fire unattended.The petition shows thatthree hours later the fire rekindledand, due to windy conditions,spread to Clayton’s home andanother building.The fire department responded to Clayton’s home but wasunable to save the burningstructure. The home andthe all its contents werereportedly destroyed.Clayton claims that shehad just completed renovationsand remodeling workto the home and had preparedit for rental.Clayton is suing the firedepartment contending thatthey were negligent in conductingthe controlled burnon a windy day and failingto properly extinguish theblaze.Clayton is asking forjudgment against the firedepartment for damage andloss of her home and propertyincluding contents,loss of rent, clean-upexpenses. She is also askingfor compensatory damagesfor physical and emotionalpain and sufferingand for the cost of the lawsuitincluding attorney’sfees.Attempts to contact FortCoffee Fire Chief MikeWalker and Mayor DeNayBurris to seek comment onthe lawsuit were unsuccessful