When tragedy hits, restoration sharks swarm, but government should still let people protect themselves

Image: A tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, breaches the water to catch its prey.

Montgomery County, June 22 – As Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams reported yesterday, there were two house fires on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, resulting from lightning strikes. The Roman Forest and Woodlands Fire Departments arrived at the scenes of the fires within minutes of receiving dispatch calls. In the case of the home in The Woodlands, the Fire Department arrived less than three minutes after the 9-1-1 call.

Despite the incredibly rapid response times, at the location in The Woodlands, someone else arrived at the scene of the fire before even the Woodlands Fire Department. A large national restoration company seeking business from the tragic situation sent a representative who arrived at the scene about one minute faster than the firefighters.

In fact, at The Woodlands fire, two national restoration companies had representatives at the scene within minutes of the lightning strike. Both companies’ representatives stayed at the scene until long after the Fire Department had put the conflagration out and left the scene. Both companies hounded the family during the fire. As the wife worried about the location of one of their house pets as she watched her home go up in flames, the husband had to fend off the salesmen.

The following day with the family having to stay elsewhere, since the home was uninhabitable, restoration company trucks parked and lined up in front of the burnt home waiting for family members to return in order to try to make the sale. Additionally, one person waited at the house in order to try to sell his services as an expert witness on the causes of fires in any litigation which might arise from the fire which had occurred one day earlier.


As the firemen worked on putting out the fire, the restoration sharks worked on making the sale.

A Deputy Marshal from the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office asked the restoration companies to leave the scene of the fire, after the family members so requested. One of the restoration company representatives loudly made clear that he would only leave the scene of the fire when he “feels like it.”

The Golden Hammer has confirmed that these restoration companies enjoy such immense profits from their restoration services after family tragedies that those companies have invested in national systems of fire tracking so that they have the same software and notification methods as local fire departments. The “fire trackers” can usually arrive at the scene no later than the fire departments themselves.

At a recent fire in East Montgomery County, one restoration company representative poked his head into a damaged home even though there had been a death and an arson-homicide investigation was underway.

Having these sharks line up when tragedy occurs is similar to what people in our community regularly observe at the scenes of accidents with tow truck drivers lined up to try to get the lucrative tow and body repair jobs.

With respect to tow truck drivers, there is serious discussion among the members of the Houston-Galveston Area Council, the regional governance group that brings together many county and municipal governments on policy issues primarily involving roadways, to impose regional regulations on which tow truck drivers may appear at accident scenes.

Therefore, the whole ugly circumstances with these restoration sharks beg the question whether the government should intervene to regulate them as well.

Despite the unethical and downright insensitive manner in which the restoration sharks appear and linger to make the sale, citizens should be cognizant and vigilant of those sharks when tragedy strikes and take care of themselves. There’s nothing good about the sharks. There’s nothing ethical about them. To the contrary, they don’t deserve a shred of respect.

Nevertheless, in a free nation with free markets that emphasizes job creation through capital rather than government edict, government has no place in regulating those sharks. As a society, we should teach individuals to prepare for tragedy and to prepare for those who take advantage of tragedy.  As a society, we should teach individuals to recognize unethical behavior and not to tolerate it for the slightest moment, even when it’s directed at them.

That’s how free markets – and free societies – should and do work.



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