Baby Layla's the latest to learn that FiOS stands for Fire is Our Specialty

Baby Layla has spent the entire first two months of her precious life cooped up in a hotel room after fire damaged her parent's apartment and destroyed their belongings - including gifts meant for Layla and her dad's breathing machine used to counter his sleep apnea.

Do I even need to mention that the fire started when a Verizon FiOS installer drilled through an electric line? ... Didn't think so.

What does require emphasis is that Daniel Wood, Dawn Sammler and their daughter are out $58,000 worth of possessions and lost living expenses, according to their attorney, Andrew Cotlar, while Verizon reportedly has offered the Warrington, Pa., couple all of $1,800 in compensation. (Update: Verizon calls $1,800 an advance payment.)

Welcome to the world of Verizon, Layla.

Of course, Wood, Sammler and their cute-as-a-button child are only the latest in a seemingly endless string of customers who have found themselves put out of house and home by Verizon installers and the company's contractors. The series of blunders has created a nightmare for Verizon's public relations department - which it has handled it abysmally - and left those of us who have merely endured the carrier's crappy service counting ourselves fortunate.

I mean what could be worse than having your home set on fire while you're in the hospital having a baby? From The Intelligencer:

In the lawsuit filed in county court, Wood, 26, and Sammler, 22, say that Verizon representatives promised the company would provide housing for them at the company's expense until they could find a new place to live. The company also promised to reimburse their out-of-pocket living expenses and replace the things they lost in the fire, they said.

They said Verizon has ignored their repeated requests for reimbursement of their living costs and replacement of their belongings. On Friday, Verizon offered to pay the couple $1,800, said their attorney, Andrew Cotlar. He said the couple lost about $58,000 worth of belongings.

As for what Verizon has to say ... well, we've heard it before, although it must be said that in previous "incidents" the company has seemed quicker to reach for the checkbook.

Verizon spokeswoman Sharon Shaffer said she couldn't comment specifically on the lawsuit itself but acknowledged that the company's insurance adjusters have been working with Cotlar to try to reach an agreement.

"We're certainly familiar with the incident, and Verizon does regret the accident," she said.

Regret is cheap.

Verizon is a multibillion public company. Perhaps those who oversee that empire should direct a few million - or a few tens of millions - toward better training and on-site safety procedures for its installers. Whatever they're doing now is clearly not enough.

And let's hope Baby Layla sees home before her first birthday.

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