Fire loss prompts insurer to sue furnace manufacturer

Ann Knef Oct. 29, 2007, 7:50am

The insurance carrier for Roesch Inc. in Belleville has filed a civil complaint against KMI Systems, Inc. in St. Clair County Circuit Court claiming a faulty furnace led to a fire which destroyed and damaged Roesch's inventory and building.

Loss of electrical power on Aug. 10, 2006, shut down enamel furnace blowers allowing heated air to escape from the furnace, the suit claims.

Federated Mutual Insurance Co. filed the complaint Oct. 25 as subrogee for Roesch. KMI Systems of Crystal Lake, Ill. manufactured and installed the furnace, the suit states.

"...[T]he heated air that escaped from the enamel furnace caused conduction heat to ignite the wood members through the metal I-beam located at the opening of the enamel furnace," the complaint states.

Seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, Federated Mutual Insurance is represented by Beth C. Boggs of Boggs, Boggs & Bates in St. Louis.

The suit claims KMI Systems failed to provide adequate heat shielding of the combustible wood structural members and failed to remove or replace the wood structural members with non-combustible materials.

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