COLORADO SPRINGS — Brian Zimkas says the smell of smoke has hung around in his son's bedroom closet for more than a year and a half. In June 2020, his Colorado Springs home caught fire as he and his family were sleeping.
"From what the firefighters said we were a minute from losing the entire house," Zimkas said.
The fire was ruled an accident. The Colorado Springs fire department says it may have started from smoldering cigarettes in a trash can.
That same day Zimkas says a company called Statewide Restoration showed up ready to help.
"They were here they were adamant about getting stuff done," said Zimkas. "They had this beautiful book and these pictures, they're boarding up the side of the house, they're doing everything you want somebody to do when you're in a bad predicament like that."
Zimkas says he put his trust in Statewide Restoration and that they would get the job done right.
"There was some very big structural damage," Zimkas said. "The attic above the garage had to be removed and replaced, all the trusses, lots of smoke damage traveled up in between the sheetrock and the walls up into the attic."
But more than a year and a half after Statewide Restoration showed up, Zimkas believes that sheetrock and the attic insulation were never replaced.
Here's his explanation on why:
"This a piece of sheetrock that was supposedly replaced at the time that they first started replacing sheetrock," Zimkas said. "It's burned insulation that I can obviously smell. This has all been pulled out since you called."
As a precaution to protect the rest of his insurance money, he says he stopped payment to the company as more problems came up. News 5 Investigates learned Statewide Restoration put a $55,722.20 mechanics lien on the house.
When I reached out to Statewide Restoration the company came to an agreement with Zimkas that he would pay twenty percent of the remaining balance due to have the work finished. But to date, Zimkas says there are still outstanding issues.
I gave Statewide Restoration CEO Gary Liardon three opportunities to speak on camera starting on February 22, 2022, but each time we were ready to go he canceled. One e-mail said he wouldn't be there in time to meet, a text cited a family emergency, and a final email said he wasn't available that day.
However, Liardon did say the final items are scheduled and that the lien would be removed "as a show of good faith." So far, News5 has not seen a release of lien.
In the meantime, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department spokesperson Greg Dingrando said the final building inspection needs to be called in by April 9th, 2022—-that's 180 days after the permit was issued.
"If they don't call in an inspection by that point, it will go what we call A-status, administratively closed, and that will mean they can no longer call in inspections to call in permits unless this is taken care of," Dingrando said. "If they don't, A-status would not allow them to renew their license, and then that would, of course, affect all permits. They would not be able to pull any permit on any project whatsoever."
News5 also learned in January the department temporarily suspended the company's license because Statewide Restoration's Workers' Compensation Insurance was not updated. That meant they could not call in inspections during that time. That issue has since been fixed, but Zimkas is still left wondering if his house will ever get done.
"It just got pushed off and pushed off until you called and then things changed," Zimkas said.
News 5 asked Zimkas' insurance company if they could help but they told us since he went out of network in choosing Statewide Restoration there was nothing they could do.
Remember before you sign an insurance check over to a contractor the Better Business Bureau suggests you:
- Ask for three quotes from different businesses.
- Research the company right away. Search the company's name online along with "complaint" "review" or "scam."
- Do not give final payment until all final inspections are done by your local building department.
We are always willing to check out a company for you before you hand over money, just send an email to ews5Investigates@KOAA.com.
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