Insurance company seeks to recover fire damage claim from plumber

Kelly Holleran Aug. 17, 2009, 5:00am

An insurance company has filed suit against a plumbing company, claiming a plumber was responsible for starting a fire that caused more than $150,000 to a Belleville home.

Farmers Insurance Exchange claims a plumber with Embrich Plumbing Company was soldering copper piping in the master bedroom at Becky Klotz's home at 615 S. Missouri Ave. in Belleville on April 20.

"The open-torch work ignited combustibles in the bathroom wall, resulting in extensive damage of Plaintiff's home and personal property," the suit filed Aug. 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court states.

Because of the fire, Farmer's Insurance Exchange paid Klotz more than $150,000 for damages to her home, plus additional living expenses, the complaint says.

But the insurance company says Embrich should reimburse it the money it paid because the plumber operated an open torch near a combustible wood-framed wall and failed to avoid igniting the combustibles.

In addition to the $150,000, Farmers Insurance Exchange is seeking costs and other relief the court deems just.

Steven M. Thompson of Sneckenberg, Thompson and Brody in Chicago will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-419.

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