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$1.4 Million Dollar Squirrel.
Pricey squirrel dinner
BY PEG MCNICHOL
THU, 25 OCT 2012 07:36:40 EDT
Fire Fighters battle a blaze at Clear View Apartments on Riley Wednesday afternoon. Dennis R.J. Geppert/Sentinel Staff
Dennis R.J. Geppert/Sentinel Staff
Holland Township -
Insurance adjusters have placed a $1.4 million price tag on the cost to replace the Clear View Apartments building destroyed by fire on Oct. 10.
Holland Township Fire investigators said the fire, which displaced 29 families, possibly came from an unattended torch that a man had been using. They ruled the blaze accidental. Police said the resident had been using a propane torch to remove fur from a squirrel carcass to prepare a meal.
The apartment management will hold that resident responsible for the building’s $10,000 insurance deductible, said Debra Spohn, senior vice president of the apartment complex’s parent company, Cottonwood Residential.
“We will pursue the resident,” she said. “We’ll send a demand letter for that and give him 30 days to make arrangements.”
The man no longer lives at the complex. Nine families were moved to Clear View’s existing vacancies on the day of the fire, she said.
She said residents are barred from cooking anything on the apartment patios. Clear View residents are required to have renters insurance which includes a $100,000 payment for building damage as well as coverage for their personal effects.
“We have to require that residents help protect us from a loss such as this,” she said. “You can be a very responsible resident, but your neighbor may cause a fire and cause something like this.”
Cottonwood Residential operates 28,000 apartment units in 24 states, but Clear View is the company’s only Ottawa County property, Spohn said. Reconstruction won’t begin until the insurance claim is fully settled, she said, but a construction supervisor is on-site, ready to begin rebuilding as soon as possible. Displaced families will have their security deposits refunded as well as their October rent, she said.
None of the 57 residents were hurt, but a firefighter broke a toe fighting the blaze.
— Follow this reporter on Facebook and Twitter @SentinePeg.