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LATEST NEWS

Firefighters Had Water Issues; $2M Mansion Is A Total Loss

Firefighters believe the blaze that burned down a $2 million Hall County mansion started in the home’s fireplace. Capt. Bobby Ogletree said the cause is still under investigation¸ but they’ve been able to track the origin to that part of the 10¸00 square-foot home. The Hall County fire department faced a series of water issues when they arrived at the home on Shoreline Drive around 7:40 pm Monday night. A fire department spokesperson said fire engines and tankers had to travel to a fire hydrant 1/2 to 3/4 miles from the driveway of the residence.

Tornado Cleanup Underway In Atlanta

Cleanup efforts are underway after three radar-confirmed tornadoes moved through metro Atlanta Wednesday. The storms left a trail of damage in their paths and in metro Atlanta roadways. The first tornado touched down near Temple in Carroll County¸ moving through Haralson and Paulding counties as well. The second tornado started near Six Flags in Cobb County. It moved through Vinings and into the center of Buckhead. The final tornado was in the Johns Creek¸ Cumming and Buford areas.

Death Toll Rises From Great Smoky Mountains Wildfires

The death toll from wildfires blazing in and around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee rose to seven on Wednesday even as drenching rains helped firefighters suppress flames that have left whole neighborhoods in ruins. The tally of documented property losses from the fires also climbed to more than 700 structures damaged or destroyed throughout Sevier County¸ including at least 300 in the resort town of Gatlinburg. On Tuesday¸ authorities reported about 150 structures damaged or destroyed by fire. Aerial news footage broadcast on local television showed the burned-out¸ smoking ruins of dozens of homes surrounded by blackened trees in several neighborhoods.

Assignment Of Benefits Fraud In Florida In Matthew’s Wake

Hurricane Matthew lashed Florida’s eastern coast in early October¸ causing significant damage to both residential and commercial property. While Hurricane Matthew is gone¸ Florida insurers are now bracing for another type of storm: a flood of assigned insurance claims in the wake of the destruction. Over the past few years¸ assigned insurance claims—often referred to as assignments of benefits (AOBs)—have been particularly challenging for first-party property insurers in Florida. AOBs raise unique issues¸ including fraud concerns.

Regulation Limiting Injection Wells Has Decreased Earthquakes In Oklahoma

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has dropped dramatically since late May¸ when the state limited wastewater injections into energy wells¸ an Associated Press statistical analysis shows. And a new scientific study says the state is on its way back to calmer times that prevailed before a huge jump in man-made quakes. For quake-prone parts of Oklahoma¸ the state ordered what is essentially a 40 per cent reduction in injection of the saltwater that scientists generally blame for the massive increase in earthquakes.

Another Recall For Dehumidifiers Responsible For $19M In Property Damage

Federal safety regulators are hoping the fourth time is the charm for millions of recalled dehumidifiers that have now been linked to 450 fires and more than $19 million in property damage: Gree Electric Appliances — the manufacturer fined a record $15.45 million over the fiery dehumidifiers earlier this year — has re-announced the recall. The Consumer Product Safety Commission¸ along with Gree¸ re-announced the recall — which covers nearly 2.5 million dehumidifiers — Tuesday aiming to get more consumers to replace their defective¸ and dangerous¸ machines.

Deadly Storms Add To Drought¸ Flood And Fires Plaguing South

The National Weather Service confirms that at least 13 twisters damaged homes¸ splintered barns and toppled trees in parts of Alabama¸ Louisiana¸ Mississippi and Tennessee¸ killing five people in two states. At least a dozen more people were injured early Wednesday¸ adding to a seemingly biblical onslaught of drought¸ flood and fire plaguing the South. The storms tore through just as firefighters began to get control of wildfires that killed seven and damaged or wiped out more than 700 homes and businesses around the resort town of Gatlinburg¸ Tennessee.

Homeowners Policies Should Be Checked As Holidays Approach

The last thing a homeowner wants to do is to make a claim on home insurance policies over the holiday season. However¸ this coverage can play an integral role in putting things right if the worst should happen. The risks of peril and of loss usually spike over the holidays. Therefore¸ homeowners are being advised to make sure the coverage they have is enough for their needs. The homeowners insurance industry is recommending that Americans don’t wait for their policy renewal to ensure their coverage is adequate. This time of year presents many opportunities for things to go wrong.

Severe Weather¸ Possible Tornadoes Kill 5 In The Southeast

A suspected tornado that tore through Alabama early Wednesday killed three people and injured at least two others¸ officials said. Two people also were killed in Tennessee in the band of severe weather that barreled through the Southeast. One storm ripped through Jackson County in northeastern Alabama¸ causing destruction over a 1.5-mile path¸ knocking down power lines and mangling mobile homes near the community of Rosalie. "We can’t tell what kind of damage we’ve got (due to the dark)¸" Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips told CNN affiliate WAFF-TV in Huntsville.

Home Repairs Delayed As Lender Withholds Large Insurance Checks

Manzanita homeowners are beginning to rebuild after the Oct. 14 tornado that slammed through town. 128 homes and a few businesses were damaged by the high winds. But tarps on the roof of Kathy Kanas’ home speak to a problem: There’s no work being done to fix the house because the insurance money is frozen. Kathy and her boyfriend¸ Tom McCallum¸ are frustrated with Wells Fargo Mortgage¸ which has not yet signed off on that insurance check. “The adjuster came out and she worked off our contractor’s bid and just approved everything and they sent us a check -- that was three weeks ago and we still haven’t gotten anything done¸” McCallum said.

Tennessee Wildfires Devastate Popular Tourist Destinations

Flames tore through the Great Smoky Mountains¸ killing at least three people¸ scorching hundreds of homes and businesses and sending more than 14¸000 fleeing from the resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Tourists and residents scrambled Monday night and early Tuesday to outrun the blaze¸ which was pushed from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into the towns by wind gusts of almost 90 mph. Drivers navigating narrow mountain roads shot video footage showing flames swooping in from the shoulders of the roadway at the height of the evacuation.

Trucking Facility Blaze May Have Caused $1M In Damages

Damage to a Harmar trucking facility that burned to the ground Friday night could cost more than $1 million. Joe Luera¸ assistant chief at Allegheny Valley Volunteer Fire Company¸ said that figure could climb as the Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s office and insurance companies continue their investigation at Ideal Trucking. Luera and Matt Brown¸ chief of Allegheny County’s emergency services¸ said the cause has not been determined of the fire that consumed a 60- by 60-foot pole building on Rich Hill Road. Also destroyed were five tractor-trailers — three that were inside the building and two nearby.

People Flee Gatlinburg Area As Wildfires Torch Buildings

Fanned by strong winds and the Southeast’s worst drought in nearly a decade¸ at least 14 wildfires burned in and around Gatlinburg¸ Tennessee¸ forcing evacuations from the popular tourist destination and nearby communities. "If you’re a person of prayer¸ we could use your prayers¸" Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said Monday evening as crews battled wind gusts of up to 70 mph. On Monday afternoon¸ a wildfire from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park spread rapidly into nearby communities. Strong gusts scattered embers across long distances¸ starting fires that fed off drought-stricken trees.

Liability Risks Come With Hosting Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends. Be sure your guests are safe and secure while you’re hosting them. Here are a few tips. • Slips and falls are the most common dangers in residential properties. To protect your guests¸ clear your driveway and make sure that rugs or cords don’t create tripping hazards. • If you serve alcohol during a party¸ you can be held liable for a guest who becomes intoxicated and then drives home. Make sure that none of your guests overindulge¸ and always have a backup plan so no one drinks and drives. • Unattended children at a party can get injured or cause damage to your property¸ so it’s a good idea to provide them with a supervisor.

Use Extreme Caution Deep-Frying That Turkey!

Fire crews in South Florida are urging those planning to deep fry their turkey this Thanksgiving to be cautious. With Thanksgiving this Thursday¸ many have deep fried turkey on their holiday menu¸ and fire rescue officials warned if the turkey is not properly prepared¸ dipping it into the deep fryer can cause an explosion. Firefighters see almost double the normal number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving. “We always see examples of what you should do¸” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue firefighter Maggie Castro. “We’re here to show you what you shouldn’t do.”

Shopper’s Anger Turns Into Arson This Holiday Season

A three-alarm fire that gutted a Kent strip mall on Sunday may have begun because one store was out of shopping carts. Court documents say the woman now charged with setting the fire had gone into the Dollar Tree Store at 23406 Pacific Highway S.¸ then mentioned to an employee that there weren’t any carts. She said she was going elsewhere to shop and left. She returned and said something about "burning the store down¸" court documents say. She went to the greeting card aisle¸ then came back and announced¸ "The store is on fire."

Catastrophic Potential In A Statewide Break Of The San Andreas Fault

For years¸ scientists believed the mighty San Andreas—the 800-mile-long fault running the length of California where the Pacific and North American plates meet—could only rupture in isolated sections. But a recent study by federal¸ state and academic researchers showed that much of the fault could unzip all at once¸ unleashing a rare¸ singular catastrophe. Now¸ insurers have used that research to come up with a new analysis of the damage that could be caused by statewide break of the San Andreas.

Crews Return To Scene Of Rekindled Home Blaze

Crews from the Indianapolis Fire Department found themselves at a familiar location Monday morning on the west side of the city. Firefighters were called to a home at 1107 Pershing Ave. around 6:15 a.m. in response to a fire. They’d been at the location on Sunday night¸ where they battled a fire and marked it under control. But firefighters returned to the scene Monday¸ where they encountered heavy black smoke and fire coming from the roof. Crews had it under control by around 6:50 a.m.

New Zealand Earthquake Insured Losses Could Be $3.5 Billion

The estimate from catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide is for at least $762 million in losses but the damage to homes¸ business and infrastructure could be much higher. A full assessment is being hampered by continued poor weather in the region. “More than 80¸000 landslides and 2¸600 aftershocks have been recorded following the massive earthquake that struck New Zealand’s South Island early this week¸” said Dr. Bingming Shen-tu¸ assistant vice president at AIR Worldwide. “The temblor was the largest experienced by the country since the 2009 M7.8 Dusky Sound earthquake and one of the four most powerful since 1855. Recovery efforts in the region have been additionally hampered by gale-force winds¸ heavy rainfall¸ and flooded roads.”

There’s No Relief in Sight for Beleaguered Connecticut Homeowners

Connecticut authorities continue to gather information about failing concrete foundations in hundreds and possibly thousands of homes in the eastern part of the state¸ but there is no financial relief in sight now for homeowners whose houses are essentially worthless. In early November¸ state Attorney General George Jepsen released the results of a scientific investigation¸ concluding the mineral pyrrhotite in aggregate used to make concrete was a "contributing factor" to deteriorating foundations. But homeowners so far have been left high and dry by both the state and their insurance companies¸ in part because nothing in Connecticut state law regulates how much pyrrhotite concrete may legally contain.

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