By Karen Brainard
After hearing from an insurance agent on June 18, the owner of the Valero gas station at 1210 Main St. said he is hopeful that he can finally fix the station's metal canopy that was struck by a large truck about two months ago.
Station owner Mark Tomika expressed frustration over multiple delays with the insurance company representing the utility truck that caused the damage.
After taking steps to try to push the process along quicker, Tomika said he was told last Wednesday that an insurance check should be issued soon.
"I have everything ready," Tomika said in regards to initiating repairs.
Although the towering canopy over the gas pumps stands lopsided and leans on one end, it does not pose a public safety threat, according to Ramona Fire Marshal Steve Foster.
Foster said he had concerns about the leaning canopy and called a county structural engineer to examine it. "They say it's structurally sound," Foster said.
Still, Tomika said he doesn't like the look of it, and the damaged canopy has caused his business to drop about 40 percent.
"They hurt my business," he said.
Not only has it affected his gas sales, but also store sales as gas customers often come in to purchase other items, he noted.
According to Tomika, the canopy was damaged when the driver of a utility truck did not realize the boom on top was still partially extended and it hit the canopy's roof.
The damage is estimated at $100,000, he said, and the entire canopy may have to be replaced.
Tomika said some of the delays with the insurance company possibly were related to the rash of wildfires that occurred in the county the week of May 12, and may have caused a disruption in claims processing.