Harris Fire survivors among thousands nationwide ordered to return money to FEMA
By Miriam Raftery
May 12, 2011 (Potrero) – Donald and Veronica Lytle are stunned after receiving a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) demanding that they return all of the $1,647.43 that FEMA paid them in 2007 for cleanup and temporary lodging after their home on Potrero Valley Road was damaged in the Harris wildfire. FEMA has offered no explanation for the demand, other than stating that the entire amount was an “overpayment.”
The Lytles say FEMA insists their home did not suffer fire damage--despite mounds of ashes blown inside and a hole knocked in the roof by a tree felled during a firestorm so extreme that it fueled its own weather system.
ECM editor Miriam Raftery visited Potrero during that firestorm and concidentally, interviewed the Lytles’ next-door neighbor—witnessing firsthand the devastation clearly caused by the horrific wildfire.