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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Fireplace Sets House Ablaze, Bankers Standard Claims in Lawsuit

March 7th, 2013 - An ACE Group insurer has sued the builder and installer of a fireplace system it believes caused a blaze that damaged one of its client’s homes.

Bankers Standard Insurance Co. sued four companies: Earthcore Industries LLC, Icerock Inc., Icerock LLC and West Cobb Construction and Consulting Inc. The suit is over a fire on November 26th, 2012, that damaged an Atlanta home owned by its client, Marshall Hunt.

The home contained an Isokern brand fireplace that is manufactured by Jacksonville, Florida-based Earthcore. This type of fireplace is made of  prefabricated pumice blocks that are assembled on site and mortared together to create a fireplace.

The contractor that built the home bought the fireplace from Earthcore. Earthcore,, then allegedly subcontracted with West Cobb Construction to perform the installation.

Bankers Standard said that after moving into the finished home, Hunt noticed a crack in the back wall of the firebox of the fireplace. He contacted the builder, Delany and Rosetti, to have it repaired and, according to the Complaint, West Cobb Construction was sent to the home.

The insurer said that Earthcore and/or West Cobb Construction botched the remediation effort because one or both of them patched surface cracks, when in fact the damage extended from the inside of the firebox to the back, exterior wall of the fireplace.

Hunt lit a fire in the fireplace on Nov. 26 and within a few hours a fire began inside the wall that separated the fireplace from the master bedroom. This caused extensive damage to the property.

The Complaint alleges that a subsequent investigation by the insurer determined that the surface repair of the crack had failed and the crack reopened, allowing the fire to spread to the home.

Earthcore and West Cobb had a duty to ensure that the fireplace was properly installed and would not expose the Hunts to a fire risk, said Bankers Standard. And they had a further duty to repair the crack in a proper and safe manner.

Banker Standard asked in a federal court suit filed in Atlanta for unspecified damages against the defendants.

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