7 On Your Side offers tips to help residents of red-tagged homes

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney offers tips for residents and business owners whose buildings were red tagged after the earthquake.
There are 153 people in Napa who have had either their homes or businesses red tagged. That means the buildings have been deemed unsafe to go inside.

Michael Finney looked into what people need to do now to make them safe.

You may have an earthquake kit. You may have your home owner's insurance and maybe even earthquake insurance. But few of us are ever prepared for dealing with your home or business being red tagged.

Angela Larson surveyed the damage to her 1928 bungalow in Napa. Seeing city inspector's red tag her home tore the heart out of the life-long Napa resident. "It's horrible you know, It's our home and we can't be here anymore," Larson said.

The decision left her stunned and confused. Larson had a lot of questions about what do next, but found few who had the answers. "We were told the county officials were in meetings and there was no information available," Larson said.

A fire tore through the Squat and Gobble restaurant in San Francisco almost two years ago and the building was eventually red tagged. Architect Sueheil Shatara was brought in to help rebuild and understands what Larson is going through. "It's frightening because they don't know their destiny still," he said.

Shatara says first hire a contractor who will recommend any structural engineers and architects who are needed. Work with the building department to get any necessary permits. Then, divide your permits into several permits. For instance, you might be able to get a foundation permit in a day.

"So you can get permits to immediate things and permits to do more long range things," Shatara said.

Be prepared to jump through hoops, but you'll get through it.

Less than 18 months after the fire, the Squat and Gobble restaurant reopened for business, complete with a second floor expansion.

For the people of Napa, there's hope. "We just took it upon ourselves to take care of ourselves and our neighbors helping us and strangers helping us," Larson said.

Larson says there's a possibility she may not be able to rebuild her home.

But the city of Napa says for those in need, financial assistance to help rebuild may be days away.

If your home or business has been red tagged, click here.
Related Topics:
news 7online sweepstakes earthquake south napa earthquake disaster Napa
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