Up in Smoke

Posted July 26th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

A recent event in our neighborhood really drove home the need to have good homeowners insurance. The couple, newlyweds, had just bought their first home in our small city neighborhood. A May wedding, followed by a new home in June. Things were looking wonderful for the happy new couple. Then the Fourth of July came.

Now, the Fourth of July is a big deal in our community. People flock from all over the state, and even from neighboring states, to enjoy our fireworks displays. And our city isn’t content just to celebrate America’s independence for one day. Nope, we celebrate it for three whole days.

In our state, about the only personal fireworks that are legal are sparklers and snakes. In other words, if it goes boom, or leaves the ground, or produces flame, or presents any fun in any way, shape or form, it is illegal. Verbotten. Theoretically it’ll get you fined or locked up. In practice, the police have more important things to worry about.

To make a long story short, the laws forbidding personal fireworks are so weakly enforced that they really don’t stop anybody. Fireworks go off in the street for all three days of the annual Fireworks Festival, and in reality, the occasional crackle, sizzle, and boom can be heard for a week or two before and after the Fourth.

Back to our young couple. They enjoyed the fireworks like anybody else. Who knows, they might have even lit off some of those illegal fireworks, though we don’t have any personal knowledge of that. What we do know is that their neighbors across the street and down a couple of houses shot off some illegal fireworks.

The police confiscated the rest of the fireworks from the neighbors across the street, but not until after the damage was done. A stray firework of one sort or another made its way across the street into the dry bushes in front of the young couples’ house. Within minutes, the house was in flames, and the sirens were blazing. Someone, probably one of their relatives, was carried out on a stretcher. Fortunately, no one died.

The house? We’re sure it can be restored, but it endured its share of fire and smoke damage, to say nothing of the water damage from putting it out and the brand new hole in the roof the firefighters cut for ventilation. Chances are, though, that their homeowners insurance will cover that. After all, that’s the reason we all pay our premiums every month. We never know when something can happen and, even if it isn’t our fault, we want to make sure that it isn’t or loss.

Photo via Vanessa Pike-Russell

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