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Indy house explosion...insurance experts?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by crusha, Nov 17, 2012.

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  1. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Looking for insight on what you think will happen here. I'm sure you heard the story...house blows up and structurally ruins 30 more around it, 2 dead, many injured...and the owner is out of town at the time, with her cat boarded, staying with relatives. Hmmm. The police and media say gas is suspected...but haven't ruled out wrongdoing. They have treated it as a "crime scene" for the past week. Of course, since the woman was trying to sell the house and was rumored to be skirting foreclosure, the suspicion in the community is she or her boyfriend rigged it up, somehow.


    The homeowner didn't talk to the media for 4 days after the explosion. People are dead...and she's just, like...gone.


    I just can't grasp the intensity of the thing. It caved in the garage doors of surrounding houses, and the shock wave went on through and blew out their windows from the INSIDE. An awful big explosion, just for a garden-variety gas appliance malfunction. The news reported that her daughter texted her bio-dad, saying the heat had been out for a week or two. It's also rumored there was a cell call to the house at the time of the boom.


    So what happens here from an insurance and criminal investigation standpoint? Most of the physical evidence needed to build a case was destroyed. If they put her on trial, it would likely be all circumstantial evidence. Potentially hard to convict (divorced nurse, rumored dirtbag boyfriend, full custody of a 12 y/o daughter and restraining order against the ex, money troubles, etc...and when it comes to the courtroom, you know there will end up being at least 6-7 women on that jury, and half of them would be in the same circumstances and sympathetic to her, statistically).


    Am I correct in assuming her homeowner's insurance will not pay out, as long as there's suspicion of criminal wrongdoing? Since the community is devastated, and 30+ families need to start putting their lives back together, time seems to be of the essence. I assume at minimum, everybody else's insurance companies will sue the woman's insurance company for negligence on her part...assuming criminal wrongdoing has been officially ruled out. Does this not put withering pressure on the police and DA to clear her of wrongdoing, so the insurance settlements can move forward? (Or at least the lawsuits, as it were?)


    Just wondering if there's any chance justice could get done here, if it were to turn out she and the boyfriend are dirty in this. How would you insurance guys approach something like this, professionally?
     
  2. MilCon

    MilCon Member

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    My understanding of gas explosions is there has to be the perfict ratio of gas to air for the sourse to ignite and explode.
    Now If you add oxygen rich material such as a small ox container along with some "acetlene gas " in a small container in an inclosed environment , you have a whole set of different rules to apply.


    Take a ballon and place some O2 and acetlene gas in to it. Tie the end so no gas escapes.
    Strike a match and burn a cig. Thump the cig onto the ballon.
    It will go off as if a flash bang grenade had gone off.
    I viewed this 35 years ago in a body shop across the street from a police station.
    Man did we get in trouble for that . They thought the building had blown up.

    Funny now , but not then.
    Oh hell, it was funny then, what am I talking about.
     
  3. MilCon

    MilCon Member

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    P.S. I am not saying it was'nt STUPID. But it was funny.

    Also, if anyone wants to do this , make shure that there is no static as static will set this off.
     
  4. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    buzzy, that is why you cook meth in a rental. LOL Insurance isn't going to pay off if you blow your own house doing it.

    Wonder what a meth/natural gas explosion would look like?

    Natural gas can make one hell of a bomb. Ask the Air Force, they make bombs out of it. 30 years ago I lived down the street about a mile from a house that blew up from natural gas. Killed the women inside the house and made one hell of a mess. Neighbors reported smelling gas before it happened and reported it. It was a big explosion but it was minor compared to the one in Naptown.

    If this goes back to the furnance that had been troublesome for the last 2 weeks you would think somebody in the neighborhood would have smelled something.
     
  5. Mapper

    Mapper Member

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    It is my understanding that ATF and their dogs showed up and found no nitrates. I too felt/feel that much nat.gas would have been smelled. It would have taken a bunch and some oxygen. I await the answer with baited breath.
     
  6. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    Buzz everyone would go to their own Ins. co. to make there repairs. If her Ins. co. thinks she did it then they would withhold payment and wait to get her into civil court where the rules of evidence are a little different and they can get her on the witness stand.

    With the foreclosure situation as it is the number of arsons are up all over. Taking the pets is a good indicator. Candle fires are very popular.

    Don
     
  7. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    Don is correct. They wont pay for a self inflicted wound. Go through your own carrier, pay your deductible and let them subrogate the claim. She will file bankruptcy and nobody will get anything anyway. If it is decided she caused it on pupose, they will deny all claims and even if they dont there are policy limits
     
  8. Catpower

    Catpower Molon Labe TS Supporters

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    There is also the possibility that the house"s gas system was plumbed with Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing or as known in the trade CSST, it's was a great plan cuts down the labor of installation, so it is super cost savings, the only down side is lightning loves it, there have been cases when a house was struck during a thunder storm and the gas didn't light on fire but it blew a good sized hole in the pipe and then it filled up the attic with gas and then something sparked or the hot surface ignition on the furnace came on and boom

    I had a friend of a fiend that got killed when it happened at their house, and it was a few days after the storm went through, none of the neighbors smelled anything, he wasn't burned or blown up, he was standing in front of his pick up that was facing the garage and the garage door was closed the concussion of the blast blew the garage door into the pick up and crushed him
     
  9. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    I guess I'm just ignorant on these things, because I've never been through it myself. Am I correct in assuming that if her insurance company can prove it was intentional, they won't pay out, and she likely files bankruptcy and the neighbors don't get squat?


    Whereas, if she was simply negligent (ie, knew she had an appliance on the fritz but took no action to correct, etc.)...then her insurance co. will get laid across a pool table, a line forms behind them, and that's how the neighbors get paid?


    This is just so bizarre. I've never seen anything like it, and if certain things go in certain ways - it looks like there's a possibility these devastated families will be left to twist in the wind. (Be careful who you live next to...or 10 houses down the street from...Geez).
     
  10. PatMiles

    PatMiles Well-Known Member

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    I have a neighbor who lives next door to me that had a water line that fed sprinklers in the backyard spring a big leak. The wife, husband out of town, called on a not so smart friend to plug the leak. He dug up the natural gas feed pipe between our houses and was ready to cut it with a reciprocating saw when I had to yell at him to stop (next step was to show him the wrong end of a shotgun). He looked at me like I was stupid until I showed the moron that the pipe ran directly to the gas meter between our houses. This bozo didn't realize that if the pipe would have been the water line he would have electrocuted himself instead of blowing himself up. The neighbor later told me that the friend was a plumber. Yeah right!

    Pat
     
  11. Twinbirds

    Twinbirds TS Member

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    Do not do as MILcon suggests ! this is not a minor explosion! small amounts in the proper ratio will dismemeber or kill! not to be played with
     
  12. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering what the investigators determined the cause to be. Any gas needs to be compressed in order to be explosive versus being flamable. WOuld have had to be a closed up building with a gas leak to have the force the pictures portray
     
  13. Catpower

    Catpower Molon Labe TS Supporters

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    Bruce, an attic or whole house full of Nat gas will be one hell of an explosion

    And yeah you might not want to try what MilCon did, when I was a kid some buddies and I heard about the oxy acetylene balloon, get got one of those huge beach balloons, filled it with the mixture and put a piece of dynamite fuse in it and twisted a rubber band around the neck to seal it, and went to a rival town real late at night, and lit it off on Main street, it blew out a bunch of plate glass windows in some stores, no injuries but big boom

    We laid real low for a long time after that stunt
     
  14. SeldomShoots

    SeldomShoots Active Member

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    This matter sounds like a friction fire, as a friend in the insurance business likes to label it. . . Friction between the owner and the mortgage company.

    BTW Catpower, if nobody spilled the beans until after the applicable statute of limitations, that was a pretty good group of friends you had back then. Good thing there was no Facebook or Twitter back then.
     
  15. tom berry

    tom berry Active Member

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    Buzz,

    just because the act was intentional or unlawful doesn't mean there won't be any coverage available to the injured people. I've seen it argued where the act was intentional, but the outcome wasn't foreseen...possibly coverage. There is a lot of variability in Homeowners insurance forms, but they'll be fairly consistent in this area.

    Now, if it is determined coverage applies then there is the limit of insurance to deal with. Claims are generally defined with an occurrence trigger. There can be multiple claims from one single occurrence.

    A typical Homeowners policy would have a liability limit between 100,000 - 500,000. Not a lot of coverage for the claims involved in this occurrence.

    The Ins Co may just tender it's limits and walk away, having no duty to defend the insured after the limits are exhausted.

    In any event, there are going to be a lot of people not being fully compensated for their loss.
     
  16. Catpower

    Catpower Molon Labe TS Supporters

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    L2S, my buds and I were real tight, well maybe not so tight but we all had dirt on each other so nobody would talk LOL
     
  17. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

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    Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, just announced tonight that the blast is now a criminal homicide investigation.

    Wayne
     
  18. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    It's been named a homicide investigation...and they're now looking for a "white van." In a city of 700,000 people. Over a week after the incident happened.


    Wow. These guys sound like pros.


    My guess is, they haven't a g-d clue...and they know this isn't going to have a happy ending. So they're covering themselves with a perfunctory "homicide investigation," just so we won't look back in a year, with 2 people dead and 30 families never having been made whole...and be able to say, "no homicide investigation was ever attempted."
     
  19. cafowler

    cafowler Member

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    I think whole neighborhoods blowing up does sound suspicious, 1st thing everyone says is it due to this/that, but it does happen. Have you ever heard of San Bruno, about 3 years ago. Neighbors did smell gas, called utility a number of times, etc. I think final analysis is the line blew due to a number of issues starting with bad welds when installed. In the end, something like 60 homes were demo'd down to a level dirt lot.
    http://youtu.be/EZ6YbUrnxVM

    Happened again in Sacramento a year or so later. Neighbor said she saw the guy who lived in the house that blew go flying thru the air as she stood at the kitchen sink making breakfast. I think that one leveled 3-4 houses. Again, rumors of gas smells in the area, utility responded a number of times, nothing ever found or fixed, then kabloomy. Turns out it was a vindictive neighbor, got 17 years of jail.

    Seems like the very reason we buy insurance, when something out of our control destroys our property. It happens.
     
  20. ShootinSue

    ShootinSue Active Member Supporting Vendor

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    I witnessed a house explosion several years ago while grilling burgers on our back deck. We lived out in the country then with a spectacular view of the Illinois scenery… corn & soybean fields. Anyway, a house about a half mile away simply blew up! Total destruction. Gone! I felt the concussion even at that distance. Of course we called 911 and then drove over there to see if we could help. Some of the nearby neighbors were already there. Luckily, the kids weren’t home from school yet and no one else was home but a couple of their dogs which didn’t survive. Turns out it was a propane explosion. They had just put in a new furnace and had the local FS company run a new gas line into the house. I never heard who was at fault on that one. Since we did then and still do use propane, I gained a whole new respect for it.

    Terry
     
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