Utah Fire Department Accused of Destroying House

A Utah fire department is being sued for allegedly destroying a man’s home last July as part of a training exercise. Greg Young filed suit in US District Court for the District of Utah claiming that the South Jordan Fire Department used his home on South Gold Dust Drive without his permission, and literally destroyed it.

The complaint explains the damage and the reason for the suit as follows:

  • South Jordan City and the South Jordan Fire Department cut Greg’s garage door in half.
  • They cut holes through his roof and rafters.
  • They axed his walls.
  • They shattered his windows.
  • They tore out parts of his electrical wiring.
  • South Jordan never asked Greg for permission to enter his property.
  • South Jordan never asked Greg for permission to destroy his home.
  • Instead, Greg only learned about South Jordan’s vandalism after the damage was done.
  • Greg then contacted South Jordan, upset that South Jordan had ruined his home.
  • Greg asked South Jordan for an explanation. He also asked South Jordan for a plan to resolve the damages the City caused.
  • South Jordan acknowledged that Greg had not authorized the City to enter his property or ruin his house.
  • However, South Jordan did not provide Greg with any compensation or other plan to restore Greg’s property.
  • Greg continued to ask the City about the status of bids from its contractors and compensation for the City’s conduct. The City has not responded.
  • The City has paid Greg nothing for its trespass and destruction of Greg’s property.
  • The City has not offered to pay Greg anything for its trespass and destruction of Greg’s property.
  • Greg continues to incur ongoing expenses, including interest expenses, mitigation expenses, and legal expenses.
  • The City has not paid for those expenses – or offered to pay for those expenses.
  • Given the circumstances, Greg was forced into filing this lawsuit to seek the Court’s assistance in resolving South Jordan’s unremitted and unconstitutional conduct.

While the description of the damage seems rather benign, consider the photos included in the complaint:

The suit alleges a violation of federal and state constitutional due process requirements (taking without due process). Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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