Seattle, WA asked in Consumer Law, Criminal Law and Personal Injury for North Carolina

Q: My things were in a fire at a storage facility. The biz isn't letting me look through my destroyed unit for salvage.

I feel like I'm getting the runaround from this company. At first they told me a customer used a code to get in and set it on fire, and now they're telling me they cut their way in and did the same.

The problem is this: I think some things survived in this fire, but they won't allow me or allow a worker to really pick through it, saying it's a hazard. My life's memories were in some of these totes, and I know they didn't all melt (I saw intact tote tops, not melted).

I need help with this company to better serve me, instead of doing what's most convenience for this business, as well as finding out if they are liable for the loss of my property.

EDIT: I'm not worried about the monetary losses here. I'm worried about having access to my property before it is hauled away as junk. The business has said that for liability reasons, I would not be able to access the remains of what was in my storage unit.

1 Lawyer Answer
Lynn Ellen Coleman
Lynn Ellen Coleman
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Your property should be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Turn in an insurance claim and your own insurance company will help you get access.

If you did not have insurance, that's too bad because most likely the storage facility is not at fault whether a customer broke in or used a code.

Get a copy of the fire department report and see if they have identified the person who caused the fire. If they did, are there any charges being brought? You may have a right to restitution if criminal charges are brought.

You do not say how long it has been since the fire, but at some point they should allow you to see your property whether you ahve insurance or not. It's just going to be a lot easier if you have insurance.

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