Insurance company sued over Crawford County apartment building explosion

By Ann Knef | May 21, 2009

Tenants injured two years ago in an apartment explosion in Crawford County, as well as the administrator of a deceased tenant's estate, are seeking declaratory judgment against an insurance company in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Michael Stifle, Roger Osborn and Tammy Wood, on behalf of Harry Yargus, claim Church Mutual Insurance Co. has refused to provide liability coverage for an incident which happened May 29, 2007 at an apartment building located at 204 North Jackson St. in Robinson, Ill.

According to the suit filed May 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, there was a gas explosion and fire at the apartment building. Stifle and Osborn were injured. They have pending injury lawsuits in Crawford County. Yargus died. Wood, on his behalf, has an injury case pending in St. Clair County.

Stifle, Osborn and Wood claim Church Mutual has two liability policies with $1 million policy limits each.

Also named in the suit are defendants Five Star Management, A.J. Mason, Inc. and property manager Rena Smith.

Stifle, Osborn and Wood claim the insurance company has a contractual duty to indemnify the other defendants in their capacities of maintaining and managing the apartment building.

Thomas Crosby of Marion represents Stifle; Dale Aschemann of Marion represents Osborn and Jarrod Beasley of Belleville represents Wood.

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