Public adjusters should probably look at Black Friday as a day to work rather than shop since fires tend to spike on Thanksgiving day. Insurance agents could use the holiday season to remind their clients of the need for insurance coverage because the "fear factor" certainly rises when catastrophes occur close to home. In Thanksgiving Day is Number One Fire Insurance Claim Day, I noted that a State Farm study confirmed the increase in residential fires on Thanksgiving day and provided some tips to prevent a common Thanksgiving day fire. A quick search confirmed a number of Thanksgiving day fires as well as a reminder that we all should be thankful.
"Families Whose Homes Burned Thanksgiving Day Look for Answers," is a typical story of the Thanksgiving day fire:
Stevi Badour, 60, and her husband Jim Badour, 56, lost their home on Hidden Valley Drive in Jones Valley after a fire started around 6:25 p.m.
The Badours were cooking Thanksgiving dinner when they heard a loud pop come from the garage, Stevi Badour said. Firefighters told them the fire likely was electrical.
“The gravy was still cooking,” Jim Badour said.
“We got like, two bites,” Stevi Badour added.
Stevi Badour, who had a stroke Oct. 16, was busy cooking her first meal since being released from the hospital when the blaze began. She said the couple didn’t have insurance for their home or any of their belongings, and their furniture alone was valued at around $10,000.
“This is just not fair,” she said. “I just paid off all my furniture.”
Obviously, life is unexpectedly not fair at times and that is why insurance is so important. The article made another point which speaks loudly to those who claim modern society is not concerned about our fellow brothers and sisters:
The Badours said they stayed with Strange’s mother-in-law, Shari Stapley, in Jones Valley on Thursday night, and they met with a representative from the American Red Cross on Friday.
Stapley said the representative told her the Badours would be given vouchers to buy clothing and money for three nights’ lodging and Stevi Badour’s medications.
Tawnya Stumpf of the Salvation Army said that once the Badours and the other families displaced by the fires have found new homes, they will get help from the Salvation Army as well.
“We’re available for the families,” she said. “The public donates to us, and we are here to take care of people.”
Sean Patterson, 39, whose Palo Cedro home was destroyed Thursday by a late-afternoon fire, said he’s met with Red Cross representatives as well, and the organization paid for a hotel for him and his family to stay in.
Other community members have given to them straight out of their pockets. Jim Badour said a neighbor gave him $100 as he was shopping Friday morning.
Another New Jersey article, "Thanksgiving Day Fires in North Plainfield Keep Firefighters Busy," noted:
Tri-County Red Cross borough resident and volunteer Frank D’Amore assisted the two parents and teenage girl who occupied the second-floor apartment. They were displaced from their home.
Nathan Rudy, executive director of the agency, said the displaced residents are in a local hotel for the first few days, and have been given debit cards to purchase a week’s worth of food, two changes of clothing and a pair of shoes.
"Because of the willingness (of our volunteer) to serve, a family who had tragedy on one of our most joyous holidays was able to spend Thanksgiving safe, warm and fed," Rudy said.
Following catastrophes, I am often touched by the generosity of strangers who help others. This compassion leads many of us to give and help. The kindness and generosity of friends and strangers was reported in almost every story I came across.
If there is ever anything to give thanks for over this holiday, it is the feeling of community and help our fellow brothers and sisters give when times are most trying.
Here’s to a hope that your Thanksgiving was blessed with similar acts of kindness and thoughts of charity.