Some Aspen fire victims uninsured |

Some Aspen fire victims uninsured

Charles AgarThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN In the wake of Tuesdays fire at the Castle Ridge Apartments, 17 people who lost all or most of their possessions are putting the pieces back together.On Thursday afternoon, many residents of the 10 devastated units were busy salvaging what they could.But most, and especially residents of the second floor, which received the most damage, said theyd lost nearly everything.Scott March, a second-floor resident, was relieved to know that his property was insured.But others werent so lucky.Christina Monaco was relying on family and friends to get back on her feet, and said her lost property is just that: lost.Quay Reinert and his wife, who lived in a downstairs unit adjacent to where officials believe the fire started, had no renters insurance; he said that few others in the building had any either. The couple said they were surprised to find out that insurance was so cheap just $10 per month.The pair have found temporary housing in Truscott, but still are looking for a long-term place to live.And wherever they go, Reinert said he plans to get insurance.Thats the first thing well do, he said.Representatives from a few local insurance agencies said it is common for young, transient workers in Aspen to go uninsured.Its a responsible thing to do for yourself and others, said Neil Ross, owner of the American Family agency in Aspen. You can buy a renters policy to cover the stuff you own for a number of perils, including fire.For as little as $88 per year, his agency provides coverage on as much as $16,000 in personal property, and he tailors plans to meet a clients need.You can buy insurance to cover whatever your personal property is, Ross said.He suggests a policy that covers the cost of replacement, not one that only covers the depreciated cost of items.And most renters insurance comes with liability coverage, should someone injure themselves in your apartment and sue you.Ross said he doesnt insure seasonal employees he has a series of questions he asks to make sure his clients qualify but there are other agencies that do short-term policies.John Neil, owner of Neil Garing Insurance agency, said he doesnt sell many renters insurance policies in Aspen.We find that most people dont buy it, but they tend to be uninformed, Neil said, adding that an affordable policy can cover everything from furniture and clothes to high-dollar tech gear.Its an inexpensive coverage to give you peace of mind, Neil said. Most people dont understand it or go to the trouble to understand it.Many apartment leases include stipulations that renters carry insurance, but Neil believes that its something tenants often

The Wheeler Opera House and the Aspen Music Festival are teaming up to throw a fundraising event for the victims of Tuesdays fire at the Castle Ridge Apartments. The event, set for Wednesday, June 18, at the Wheeler, will be a free show, and contributions will be taken. In addition, the Wheeler will donate all proceeds from the nights bar sales to a fund administered by the Red Cross.Among those scheduled to perform are Woody Creeker John Oates, of the pop-soul duo Hall & Oates; local Irish band the Crowlin Ferlies; comedian Beth Brandon; and vocal and instrumental students from the Aspen Music Festival and School. The event also will include a silent auction, with two tickets to the July 26 talk at the Benedict Music Tent by the Dalai Lama being offered.Officials with the city of Aspen still are looking for places to house displaced residents and are asking for any help finding empty rental units. Contact them at 920-5050.Donations of clothing and other items are being accepted at the North 40 Fire Station, next to the Aspen Business Center, on the outskirts of Aspen. To find out whats needed, call the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department at (970) 925-5532.To make a financial contribution, contact the Red Cross regional office at (888) 545-7800 (or online at and specify that the donation is for the Castle Ridge Apartments incident.Red Cross officials also confirmed that executives at Alpine Bank are setting up a relief fund for victims.


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