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It has been almost 2 months since the fire and we have been questioned by two fire marshalls and now Allstate has hired their attorneys to take a deposition from both of us individually. We have two ex-spouses who have been stirring up trouble for us by accusing my husband of deliberating setting the house on fire. We had placed this home up for sale back in October of 2006. After that, in December, our nearly 90 year old tenant decided to move out because of this. We admit we wanted to sell the house for various reasons. One my ex-husband was right near the property. Two, we did have a mortgage on it and wanted to relieve ourselves of it. Three, we both work and it was to the place we did not want the responsibility of it any longer. In spite of these facts, there is no way that either of us would deliberately do something like this. We are told that this is just routine of the insurance companies to do this, but is it???
Also, to let everyone know, this fire happened after we received a phone call earlier in the week from a neighbor who stated he heard a noise come from our house and went up closer and heard what sounded like water running under it. He figured a pipe had burst during the extreme cold we were having in PA at the time. It was around 9pm when we got the call, and my husband got out of bed to go check it out. We live about 2 miles from the property. Indeed a water line had broke, and my husband shut the water off that night and went back the next day to repair it. He was struggling with an area beneath the bathroom that was still frozen and on Wednesday of that same week, had plugged in a heat tape hooked to an extension cord and had tried thawing the galvanized pipe by fanning it with a low flame from a propane torch. At first, we were led to believe the fire was probably electrical and may have started from the heat tape. But apparently, that was ruled out to not be the case.
We have been consulting with our lawyer, and he does not seem too concerned so far. They are just telling us this is routine procedures. If for some reason this fire started as a result of my husband using the propane torch) it certainly was a total accident. With my ex-husband right next door and who was home at the time, it would make no sense for my husband to deliberately set a house on fire in broad daylight with only my ex-husband around. This house had just a tiny crawl space that was wet and cold and my husband could not even sit up under it in order to work on the pipes. He was more than likely trying to hurry in order to get out from under there in the terrible bitter cold he was crawling in. It was in sub-zero temps that week.
TO CALLAWGUY:

We have already spoke with the fire marshals, and are arranged to speak with Allstate’s attorney on April 2nd. We live in Pennsylvania, so the laws may be different here. Can you give me more information by writing back to me at my email address:

5 Thoughts on My husband and I have been involved with our rental home catching fire and appears to be a total loss.?
  1. Reply
    justagrandma
    October 25, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Get a lawyer, you may not need one, but you need to know when to shut up and pass the buck to one. If arson was involved, whether by you or your respective exes, don’t trust them to do the investigation, they are looking for a way out of paying and they don’t care who is on the hook, please, get a lawyer before they make you a patsy.

    By the way, where I grew up in Brooklyn, we called it Arab lightning.

  2. Reply
    C B
    October 25, 2011 at 3:35 am

    It is routine to rule out “Jewish lightening” but it can escalate beyond routine very quickly. Be cautious. If they start making accusations or ask outlandish questions stop the interview and consult your own lawyer.

  3. Reply
    CalLawGuy
    October 25, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Don’t talk to anybody, fire marshalls or adjustors or Allstate staff at all.
    You need to prepare a demand letter to Allstate demanding payment in full per the terms of the policy within 10 days. That’s it, don’t elaborate, give them 10 days to pay. Send it certified mail, return receipt requested.
    If Allstate calls, tell them “Sorry, on advice of counsel we are done talking with you. All of your questions have already been answered in full, there is no other information needed in order for you to pay this covered claim. We will not be deposed or make any further statements. You are not acting in good faith. Please issue full payment immediately.”
    On day #11, file a lawsuit against Allstate in the appropriate court alleging bad faith, delay and fraud. It’s the only language they understand.

  4. Reply
    Alba J Jones
    October 25, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Yeah what a rotten deal

  5. Reply
    Matt R
    October 25, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I am on a fire department and the way it works here is: After you or the insurance company gets the fire report, unless it is determined how the fire started they have to hire a fire investigator to come down and determine what has happened. The fire investigator is always right no matter what so that is one thing you will have to face. Also it could take him anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to get down and see what has happened and that much longer to give everyone his decision. The insurance company should then have an appraiser come down and estimate the total loss. After that it should be smooth sailing though. I wouldnt go right to a lawyer just wait to see what happens and if you feel you are treated unfair then take the legal route.

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