Boardwalk Fire Caused by Hurricance Sandy Damage

In what should come as little surprise to those who have been following the news of New Jersey’s efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy, it has been announced that the Seaside Heights Boardwalk fire was caused by electrical wiring damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

This information was revealed in a Washington Post article. The article states:

Jessica Gotthold, a senior special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said investigators located wires under the boardwalk that somehow came in contact with each other, causing an arc that is believed to have started the fire. Coronato said those wires had been exposed to the storm surge and the grating sand action of the storm, which compromised them.

Many of our clients have experienced similar issues where flood waters came in contact with their wiring in their homes. Insurance carriers across the board seem to be refusing to pay to rewire these homes, instead simply stating that the wiring should be dried out. It is yet to be seen if a claim has been presented for the wiring that sparked this blaze and what the outcome of that claim may have been. The lesson for property owners is clear – even if your insurance carrier refuses to pay, you need to protect your property and make certain your electrical system is safe. If you are having difficulty getting your claim paid, you should contact experienced policyholder counsel.

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James Purcell - September 23, 2013 9:16 PM

Unbelievable what has happened to the businesses along the boardwalk-tough to see in person.

Regarding flood claims, FEMA addressed this in bulletin W-13027 Sandy Supplemental Claims on page 3, item 8, in which they stated, "Electrical wiring - wet wiring will be replaced to the next dry connection (outlet, switch, receptacle, fixture or junction box.)" As many of these homes are older and electrical systems can vary greatly, this is one area we recommend our clients obtain local contractor bids to confirm the software pricing is appropriate.

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