Confusion, chaos exemplify North Bay fire cleanup in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- Drudgery and confusion, today, in Coffey Park, where a late October heat wave beats down on ruins with nothing left to burn.

That's Janet Percy in the cover picture, one of many residents still sifting for precious remnants from 30 years in a home, and wondering what to do next.

California's Department of Emergency Services has offered to take away all the rubble down to bare dirt, but some homeowners remain weary.
"There seem to be many questions they haven't answered," said Janet.

She is not alone.

"I'm not agreeing until I talk to my insurance company and a lawyer," Dale Manwiller told us.

At issue, an ROE form (Right of Entry), which grants permission to the California Office of Emergency Services to enter a property and take everything away. As part of the agreement, homeowners would sign over money from the clean-up stipulations of their insurance policies, no matter the amounts, no matter the costs.

"If you have insurance designated for debris removal, the county will come at some point for payment," explained Bryan May from Cal OES. "You will not be charged if you don't have that."

PHOTOS: Coffey Park residents return after devastating fires

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Following the devastating North Bay fires, Santa Rosa residents returned to search the ruins where their homes once stood for memories.

Some critics, including Sonoma County contractor Tom Lynch, urge caution, especially in cases where the foundations or pilings remain repairable. "It right come off the top of their rebuilding settlements," said Lynch.

"Homeowners have every right to bring in their own structural engineers and do their own demolitions," said May.

"Can you clear the rest of these ruins and leave foundations," we asked.

"No," said May. "Based on our history, most of these foundations are damaged. If you sign the paper, we take the foundations."

Cal OES has a spring deadline for clearing debris. "That can't happen if we need to inspect 88-hundred slabs at one time. Do the math."

It appears that using broad strokes may be the only pragmatic solution to clearing a disaster zone of such massive scale.

Keep scrolling for a photo story from Wayne Freedman on Twitter.

Click here for complete coverage of the North Bay fires.
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