An insurance company has filed suit against Sears and Whirlpool Corporation after it says it was forced to pay more than $200,000 after a refrigerator manufactured by Whirlpool and sold by Sears caught a house on fire.

Millers First Insurance Companies claim they were Mechelle Grissom's insurance company while she was living at 1349 10th St. in Cottage Hills when her home caught on fire on March 16, 2008.

The fire was caused from a Kenmore stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator she had purchased from Sears Appliance Store in Hazelwood, Mo., according to the complaint filed Sept. 4 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Grissom had purchased the refrigerator from Sears on Aug. 6, 2005, but had been experiencing problems with its icemaker, which was not properly working, the suit states.

Finally, on Dec. 9, 2005, Grissom notified the Sears service center that she was having trouble with the ice maker, and a repair worker arrived to repair the product, the complaint says.

More than two years later, on March 16, a fire originated at the refrigerator, causing $208,837.04 worth of fire and smoke damage to Grissom's home, Millers First claims.

Grissom submitted a claim to Millers First, and in turn, it reimbursed her for the damages, according to the complaint.

Now Millers First is seeking reimbursement for the money it paid to Grissom, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Millers First will be represented by Michael C. Hobin of Reed, Armstrong, Gorman, Mudge and Morrissey in Edwardsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-933.

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