February 8, 2023
Insurance coverage lapsed on Granite Metropolis, IL, house destroyed by fireplace

The back addition to a Granite City ranch home is a charred mess due to a fire that broke out Monday evening. The fire department believes it was caused by a space heater.

The again addition to a Granite Metropolis ranch house is a charred mess attributable to a hearth that broke out Monday night. The fireplace division believes it was attributable to an area heater.


It was unhealthy sufficient {that a} Granite Metropolis household misplaced their house in a hearth Monday night time, then they came upon it wasn’t coated by insurance coverage.

Three siblings had been taking good care of enterprise for his or her mom, Linda McLean, 85, and in some way the final insurance coverage fee “fell by way of the cracks,” in accordance with her granddaughter.

“My grandma has owned that home (for greater than 40 years),” mentioned Jody Werner, 38. “She’s the type of girl who has an ideal credit score rating. She has by no means let her payments go or had something turned off. That is just like the one time that this home was not insured.”

Linda is a mom of 5, grandmother of 5 and great-grandmother of 4. She lived in a white-sided ranch at 3208 Wayne Ave. with an addition in again.

The fireplace additionally displaced Linda’s daughter, Jennifer Werner, 63, and Jennifer’s son, Clayton Werner, 34, who have been dwelling together with her and serving to to look after her; in addition to two great-grandsons, Evan Werner, 22, and Phoenix Werner, 19.

The fireplace seemingly was attributable to an area heater operating in a again room, Granite Metropolis Deputy Fireplace Chief Wealthy Moore reported.

“We’re normally fairly good about doing an investigation if it’s warranted,” he mentioned. “However with what the house owner mentioned and the presence of that burned house heater and its proximity to a settee … That seems to be the rationale.”

The household had been making an attempt to rent a plumber attributable to a water pipe freezing and bursting. Jody, Jennifer’s daughter, wonders if that might have impacted the scenario in some way.

Firefighters have been known as to the house at 6:26 p.m. Monday. The final unit left at 9:17 p.m.

“There was important harm,” Moore mentioned, noting that it was prompted not solely by fireplace and warmth, but additionally smoke and water.

Jody Werner began a GoFundMe marketing campaign to assist her mom, grandmother and different relations rebuild their lives after a hearth destroyed their Granite Metropolis house on Monday. GoFundMe

The fireplace made for a tragic finish to a difficult yr for the household.

Jennifer, a widow and Southern Illinois College Edwardsville worker who previously labored for BJC Healthcare, suffered a stroke and coronary heart assault in January and underwent quintuple bypass surgical procedure in March.

Earlier this month, Jody and Clayton came upon that they’re being laid off in January. She’s a chef who runs the kitchen at The Improv Store in St. Louis together with her brother’s assist. The comedy membership is getting out of the meals enterprise.

On Monday night, Evan, a school pupil on Christmas break, found the fireplace when he went to a again room in Linda’s house to cost his cellphone, in accordance with Jody.

“He opened the door, and the room was engulfed in flames,” she mentioned.

Evan and Phoenix helped Linda escape and tried to spherical up the household’s 5 cats. Jennifer, who had simply taken a bathe, ran out into the chilly carrying solely a towel. They sat in Jody’s automobile till a neighbor invited them inside to heat up.

Three cats lived, one died within the fireplace and one is lacking. The household came upon Tuesday in regards to the lapse of their insurance coverage protection.

“That is nearly humorous it’s so horrible,” Jody mentioned.

Mates started contributing cash by way of Venmo and PayPal after studying in regards to the fireplace on Jody’s Fb web page. She was persuaded to begin a GoFundMe marketing campaign on Wednesday.

“We’re the kind of household … We now have by no means relied on anyone however ourselves,” Jody mentioned, her voice stuffed with emotion. “It’s not simple for anybody, I don’t assume, to have their hand out. It’s laborious, and it’s actually humbling.”

The Improv Store plans to donate 100% of proceeds from comedy reveals on Friday and Saturday to the household, in accordance with Basic Supervisor Andy Sloey.

Jody is just not solely a chef on the comedy membership, she’s a performer.

“She’s been a pillar of the improv group in St. Louis for a very long time, and he or she grew to become our kitchen supervisor in 2017,” Sloey mentioned. “All people loves her, and he or she has been taking good care of the group by feeding them for 5 years, so we wish to assist her out at this troublesome time.”

This story was initially revealed December 29, 2022 6:00 AM.

Insurance coverage lapsed on Granite Metropolis, IL, house destroyed by fireplace

Teri Maddox has been a reporter for 37 years, becoming a member of the Belleville Information-Democrat in 1990. She additionally teaches journalism at St. Louis Group Faculty at Forest Park. She holds levels from Southern Illinois College Carbondale and College of Wisconsin-Madison.