Lawsuits stack up

It’s been just over a year since an explosion and fire injured a man and damaged several boats at a local marina, and now the insurance company representing several of those boat owners is attempting to recoup its losses.
Becky Vargo
Apr 1, 2014

Michael Rosencrance was injured March 23, 2013, when he ignited a torch while he was working on his boat, resulting in an explosion and fire in the boat storage building at North Shore Marina, 18275 Berwyck St.

The Grand Rapids man suffered “serious burns,” but he was expected at the time to recover from the injuries. No further information is available on his condition.

No one else was injured, but several boats were damaged or destroyed in the incident. Several fire departments responded to the scene.

Rosencrance is one of the parties now targeted in a lawsuit filed by Progressive Michigan Insurance on behalf of the following boat owners: Jill Howard, Tony Howard, William Nippa, Steven Barnes, Kevin Smith, Steve Fisher, Teresa Nichols, Alosman Vidinlic, Richard Achtenberg, Robert Rabuck and Richard Kohler.

The lawsuit also targets Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co., and North Shore Marina and their insurance provider, The Hanover Insurance Co.

Progressive is seeking more than $171,000 to cover money paid to the various boat owners. The company is also asking for interest, attorney fees and costs.

Read the lawsuit: Download the PDF document below this story (Related File).

The marina’s general manager, Jill Kinkema, said it’s not surprising to be served with such a lawsuit. They expect to see more, she said. It’s all been turned over to the insurance companies to battle out, she noted.

Kinkema said the fire-damaged boat storage building was reconstructed at a cost of about $675,000. All of the steel walls were taken off the building, cleaned, treated and replaced, she said. Its roof was damaged by the explosion and was replaced.

The work was done by September 2013 and boats were placed back in the building.

Boats covered with soot were cleaned and placed in the water as soon as possible after the fire, said the marina’s service manager, Jim Brewer. He said about 75 boats were cleaned and repaired, and work is almost complete on the last three.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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