Kelly Holleran Jul. 29, 2013, 4:23pm

Two Mascoutah residents have filed suit against the company that installed their fireplace, saying workers failed to properly seal off insulation from the chimney, causing the couple’s home to sustain $300,000 worth of damages when it caught on fire.

Julie A. Heyd and Carl Warren claim they were burning wood logs in their fireplace in their home at 3111 Whispering Pines in Mascoutah on Feb. 10, 2012, at about 7:30 p.m. After the fire was extinguished, at about 11:30 p.m. that night, Warren heard a popping sound and smelled a burning odor, according to the complaint filed July 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. Concerned, he touched a wall adjacent to the fireplace, which was extremely hot, the suit states.

Heyd called the Mascoutah Fire Department at about 11:48 p.m., and firefighters arrived to her residence at about 12:09 a.m. on Feb. 11, 2012, the complaint says. By the time of their arrival, smoke was billowing through the home’s attic. The living room ceiling in front of the fireplace had to be removed to fight the blaze, Heyd and Warren allege. The plaintiffs sustained damages to their home of more than $300,000, according to the complaint.

They blame the fire on defendants Wiegmann Woodworking and Fireplaces, which had installed a wood-burning fireplace and flue in the plaintiffs’ home, and Pence Construction, which built their home. They negligently failed to install a shroud or shield around the flue to prevent insulation from coming into contact with the flue and failed to inspect the fireplace to confirm that insulation would not come in contact with the flue, the suit states.

The plaintiffs also name Jay Anderson Insulation as a defendant, saying Anderson installed the insulation in the fireplace without first ensuring that a shield was in place to prevent the cellulose from physical contact with the flue. Anderson also failed to blow the insulation in conformity with manufacturer recommendations and failed to inspect the fireplace in a professional manner, the complaint says.

In their complaint, Heyd and Warren seek more than $300,000 in actual damages, plus costs, attorney’s fees, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Ted F. Frapolli of the Law Offices of Ted F. Frapolli in St. Louis and Jeremy A. Gogel of The Gogel Law Firm in St. Louis will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-360.


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