Advertisement

Archive for Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fire destoys downtown Baldwin City home

April 20, 2013

Advertisement

A Baldwin City fireman turns on a hydrant at the corner of Ninth and High streets as flames engulf a home on the southwest corner of the intersection. The fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

A Baldwin City fireman turns on a hydrant at the corner of Ninth and High streets as flames engulf a home on the southwest corner of the intersection. The fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

— Bob Bennett shook his head early Saturday afternoon as he surveyed the remains of his Baldwin City home.

“It’s been there 110 years,” he said. “It’s gone now.”

Bennett has lived in the two-story house at 901 High St. about two years, sharing it the last six months with his daughter Chayla Bennett. A finish carpenter by trade, he was renovating the structure room by room and suspects the fire started in a second-story bathroom he was working on.

“The electrical wiring upstairs was in pretty bad shape,” he said. “I gutted it and was going to add insulation and sheet rock.”

In the last year, he rebuilt a failing porch facing High Street and planned to start soon on a second porch facing Eighth Street. Bennett said he couldn’t get insurance on the house because of the poor condition of the porches.

Bennett was the only one home at the time of the fire, asleep on a couch downstairs.

Baldwin City Fire Chief Allen Craig said police officers arrived at the home after the fire was reported by a passing motorist at 1:35 a.m. Saturday. The officers broke though a door to rouse the sleeping Bennett.

“The officers said the room he was sleeping in was engulfed when they got to the street,” Craig said.

The Baldwin City Fire Department arrived at the home to find its roof and rear section completely engulfed in fire, Craig said. The Baldwin City firefighters, aided by units from Palmyra, Willow Springs, Wellsville and Lawrence fire departments, contained the fire so that it didn’t threaten nearby residences, he said.

“We had eight trucks and 125 men working the fire,” he said. “That’s a good response to a fire at 1:30 in the morning.”

The chief estimated damage from the fire at $150,000. That included damage to the house and pickup truck parked in front of the garage.

Craig said he has asked the Kansas State Fire Marshal to determine where and how the fire started.

The American Red Cross has arranged a motel room for Bennett and his daughters.

Comments

Rick Aldrich 1 year, 3 months ago

Gotta love insurance company's. so glad he made it out alive.

0

gccs14r 1 year, 3 months ago

Sounds like their risk assessment was spot-on.

1

kansanbygrace 1 year, 3 months ago

"he couldn’t get insurance on the house because of the poor condition of the porches." Is that what caused the fire? If not, then the "risk assessment" was completely off.

2

jhawkinsf 1 year, 3 months ago

Ask the insurance company why they denied coverage and they may have a different version that the home owner. Given what ultimately transpired, it seems that the insurance company's denial, or risk assessment, was a prudent business decision on their part.

0

kansanbygrace 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm working on the information provided. You aren't. Different issue.

0

jhawkinsf 1 year, 3 months ago

You're working on information provided by one, potentially biased source and then concluding that the actions of a second party, the one that has yet to be heard from, was "completely off". When you jump to conclusions, your chances of being accurate are greatly diminished.

0

workinghard 1 year, 3 months ago

Too bad the insurance company didn't tell him about Kansas Fair Plan " FAIR Plan (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) was created by the state of Kansas to insure property that insurance companies refuse to cover." That being said, it is more expensive than traditional insurance.

0

madman 1 year, 3 months ago

If the porches were bad ,that is a huge liability risk and I can understand why the insurance company would not want to insurance it. Just because it was sold for $60,000 doesn't mean it reflects the cost to rebuild it. And,the FAIR plan would be more expensive and actual cash value but, it least he would have some coverage.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.