FAMILY OF 6 LEFT RUINED AFTER A HOUSE FIRE!
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FAMILY OF 6 LEFT RUINED AFTER A HOUSE FIRE!
In 2003 my husband and my dreams were coming true. We had found an old farmhouse built in 1890 with 2 acres of land for our girls to play on and we could buy on land sale contract for only $55,000. It was a dream come true because this meant our 4 daughters could now have a stable home. We no longer had to worry about landlords. It was going to be ours. We put $10,000 down on our home and paid $600 a month for our mortgage.
Our actual payment was only $590 but I paid an even $600 every month. I figured that extra $10 would help us pay off our balance a little quicker.. We started fixing up the house and updated a lot of the plumbing and some electrical. We put all new insulation in and sheetrock on the walls. The house was slowly becoming a very nice home. We put in all brand new cathedral windows and a couple picture windows. We took over a year to clean all the junk left in the yard and picked up buckets upon buckets of broken glass from the yard. In 2005 the people we were in a land sale contract decided that we needed to pay more for the house, now that the place was cleaned up and looking good, so they changed the balance owed. We went to our lawyer and was told we could either give them back the house or pay what they wanted for it.
Part of the changes the people made was that we had to have homeowners insurance on the house. We were unable to get any homeowners insurance because we were not the actual owners. So we talked to the owners to see if they would put the homeowners insurance in their name and we would pay for it.. They finally agreed to do it in 2006 as long as we paid for it. In November 2006 the people finally purchased the homeowners insurance for us and we paid them. (And got receipts for it) Less then 3 days after the insurance went into effect, our neighbors were pounding on our front door to tell us our whole upstairs was on fire. I was in the house with our 4 daughters when I answered the door. My heart stopped.
I dragged the kids out the door and called 911. The people who we were in the land sale contract was at our house before the call even went over the scanner. They told me that because their son was in the fire department, they heard about the fire and rushed over. I later asked their son and he said he never told them about the call for the house fire. That made me wonder how they new about it so fast or how they even knew about it. Fire departments from all over responded but our house was a complete loss. And everything in it. Our girls and I stood outside and watched our home burn and couldn't do nothing to save it. We were devastated. The owners of the house told us not to worry, that's why we had the insurance and that we would be taken care of. That was a joke. We met with the people and they had me make a list of everything we lost in the fire.
They said the insurance company had to have that list so they could pay us. They told us to be patient and everything would fall into place for us. We waited for almost 2 months for any information on what was going on with the insurance money. I was hearing from different people in the area that the people had the insurance money and was spending it on themselves. I didn't want to believe that.
I called the insurance company and I asked about the money. I was shocked to find out that the claim was paid a week and a half after the fire. We called the people up to ask if it was true and the lady started to laugh at me for being stupid enough to trust her. She admitted that they had the money and there was nothing we could do about it. They had received over $280,000 in insurance money. It was in their name so there for it was their money. I reported to the insurance company that they had lied about the insurance claim. The insurance guy told me that they were the homeowners and that they had lived in the house when the fire happened and they had handed in the list of items "they" lost in the fire and got reimbursed for their loss. They took the list of everything we lost and turned it in to claim the money. I told the insurance guy that I could prove they my family and I lived in the house and not them.
I sent in copies of all our mortgage receipts along with a receipt that the owner had written me stating my husband and I paid for the insurance. The insurance guy told me they would file fraud charges against the people, but that there was nothing he could do about our loss. My husband and I went to our lawyer to see what we could do if anything. Our lawyer sued the people for the clear deed to the property because that was in our contract that the property be turned over into our names once the property was paid off. Technically the property was paid in full because the people had used some of the insurance money to pay it off.
That was a bonus for us. It was a long and dragged out process, but finally our lawyer called us in March 2006 and said we now owned the property free and clear. We started the clean up of the rubble immediately. We had very little money to rebuild so we used allot of used building materials to start rebuilding. We were contacted by the Attorney Generals office and was told they were going after the other people for insurance fraud and he needed copies of all our proof we had that we lived here and paid for stuff and not them. The Attorney Generals office asked my husband and I if we suspected that the fire was set.
We had a bad feeling then. He told us that the other people had told him that there was never a investigation done on the fire because it was electrical. They told the Attorney Generals office that my youngest daughter ( who was 3 and a half at the time) had plugged a black light in and left it on her bed. They said that my daughter had taken the light out of my oldest daughters ( who was 13) room. Nobody but me and my husband knew about my oldest daughter having a backlight. We had just bought it for her a week before the fire, so how did the other people know about it. The guy from the Attorney Generals office said he had the feeling the people set the fire but we had no proof. My youngest daughter believed she caused the fire and wouldn't sleep or eat right for nearly a month.
I was concerned about that and I was talking with my parents about it. My dad decided to buy the same kind of black light that my oldest daughter had. He had an old mattress so my dad did a test to see if the black light really did cause the fire. He laid the backlight on the mattress (bulb down towards the mattress) and left it to see what it would do. For over a week that light laid on that mattress on and it didn't even get warm. We told the Attorney Generals office that. In 2008 the people were charged with insurance fraud and have to pay back all the money they received. I was happy. We have been building the house paycheck to paycheck. The stress of it all caused my husband to end up in the hospital quite a few times. The last time he was in the hospital, he lost his job and had to get a new job. He now works 2 to 3 weeks away from home and has to live in a motel and eat the cheapest meals possible.
That takes allot of our money but it is a job and it pays the bills and nothing more. We are no longer able to use any of the paycheck my to help finish our house. We are living in the house but the walls only have insulation on them. There is no sheetrock, we don't have flooring (only sub flooring) and we use a couple of 2x4s and plywood as a make shift kitchen cupboard with used linoleum as a countertop. Our upstairs isn't even close to being done. (actually it is sealed off) We even borrowed a small woodstove to heat our house because we cant afford to buy a furnace or anything. The woodstove keeps our house heat to around 55 degrees.
That's all the heat it will put out but we survive. Just have to make sure we wear layers. If we can pick up used or damaged materials, we can finish our home and make it warm for our daughter for about $15,000. Any help anyone can give us would help us out a great deal.
A dollar here and a dollar there will help. We are only trying to do good for our girls.
We are a strong family and love to be together. We do allot of outside activities like camping, hiking, bicycling, fishing and hunting.
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