NewsMarshall Fire


'It's like waking up to a nightmare': Family that lost home in Marshall Fire grossly underinsured

Family says policy is $350K short of costs to rebuild
Cindy and Joseph Reid
Posted at 6:16 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 11:35:30-05

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Joseph and Cindy Reid’s Louisville neighborhood resembles a snow-covered war zone.

“Before the snow it looked like Baghdad,” said Joseph. “It’s brutal.”

Nearly every house is gone, including the home the Reid’s bought after retiring nearly three years ago.

They moved here from the Atlanta area, looking for a fresh start and following their daughter, Joanna Reid, and son-in-law out to Colorado. It was a move out of necessity.

“Some years, I’ve spent more time sleeping in a hospital than I have at home,” Joseph said.

Joanna is severely immunocompromised. Medical issues have had her in and out of surgery for years.

“I’ve had more than 100 surgeries the past 20 years or so,” Joanna said. “I have several neurological conditions. I have an immune deficiency. I get an infusion at the hospital every 48 hours. My partner is amazing, but he has to work. So, (my parents) take me to and from those appointments.”

“One time, recently, we had to return to Atlanta for treatment,” Joseph said. “The neurosurgeon there said her cerebral-spinal fluid pressures were not compatible with life. She was then airlifted to Mount Sinai almost immediately, and they pulled her back. They saved her. She’s enormously brave. She’s my hero. I can’t imagine I would be as well put together as she is under these circumstances.”

Joanna’s conditions partially stem from skull malformation, and doctors recently suggested a place like Colorado, with a cool, arid climate, might be better for Joanna than Atlanta.

“One of the conditions I have is exacerbated by the heat and humidity,” Joanna said. “We moved to Louisville, and Louisville is just the sweetest little town.”

Then came the fire.

“I thought, well, maybe we’ll be leaving for a few days because of the smoke,” said Joanna’s mother, Cindy Stark-Reid. “Never, ever, ever did it dawn on me that we would lose our house.”

As if the catastrophic fire last Thursday wasn’t bad enough, Joseph and Cindy are now realizing they were grossly underinsured by Liberty Mutual.

“The insurance, for some reason that nobody can understand, was written at about $240,000 for the house," said Joseph.

The Reids bought the home three years ago for $580,000.

“There isn’t a chance in hell that it can be rebuilt at that level,” Joseph said. “To have the home that we had and loved, we’re short $300,000 to $350,000.”

So, for now, a friend has launched a GoFundMe, which has raised an astonishing amount thus far.

“We’re just so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives,” Joanna said.

However, it’s still well short of what they’ll need to rebuild.

“Basically, we need the insurance company to understand that this should not have happened,” Joseph said. “The policy should have rung bells heavily in the insurance company. Downstream for us, if we don’t improve that, I don’t think we’ll be able to afford to continue to live in Louisville and maybe not even in some of the surrounding communities.”

Denver7 Gives has raised more than $400,000 and we are committed to helping families like the Reid’s with expenses related to rebuilding. We will continue to follow their story and distribute the money to those in need. If you would like to donate to the Denver7 Gives Wildfire Relief Fund, click here.