Fire Destroys Woody's Home by Bad Neighbors

Woody's Workshop

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Hi guys, just here at the Library for a few minutes.
I can't receive any phone calls or Emails presently.
We are staying in a motel until we can relocate.
Everything is lost.
The only thing I was able to save was my boxes of rockets, my collector knives, and a few cloths.
We were allowed back in on Monday between 1 and 5 pm to recover anything of value.
I managed to salvage my 3 tool cabinets and tools, my small wood tool box with my leather crafting tools and some odds and ends.
Any clothing, beds, bedding, furniture, anything that could absorb the smell of smoke is gone.
Anything on the floor that could sponge up water, such a particle board, is gone.
"HERE" is a link to the local New's channel report.
As we get through this, I will try and find time visit the Library and check in with updates.
Ya know, it's a real challenge this time to keep a positive state of mind...but I'm really trying hard.
 

Steve Shannon

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Hi guys, just here at the Library for a few minutes.
I can't receive any phone calls or Emails presently.
We are staying in a motel until we can relocate.
Everything is lost.
The only thing I was able to save was my boxes of rockets, my collector knives, and a few cloths.
We were allowed back in on Monday between 1 and 5 pm to recover anything of value.
I managed to salvage my 3 tool cabinets and tools, my small wood tool box with my leather crafting tools and some odds and ends.
Any clothing, beds, bedding, furniture, anything that could absorb the smell of smoke is gone.
Anything on the floor that could sponge up water, such a particle board, is gone.
"HERE" is a link to the local New's channel report.
As we get through this, I will try and find time visit the Library and check in with updates.
Ya know, it's a real challenge this time to keep a positive state of mind...but I'm really trying hard.

Wow, John. That’s terrible, but the most important thing is that you and your wife are okay. I can understand how this could be overwhelming. Hang in there!


Steve Shannon
 

Tobor

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I am very very sorry to hear this sad news. I know how devastating this can be having experienced similar twice in my life. I am glad to know that no one was injured by the fire. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Peace and blessings,
Tobor
 

K'Tesh

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I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm glad to hear that you, and everyone else was able to get out safe. Praying that something can be done to restore your losses.

Take Care! God Bless
Jim
 

Onebadhawk

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I'm so sorry to hear this John..
No one hurt is the main thing,,
time will go by and this will soon be a distant memory..

Teddy
 

bibbster

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What a terrible thing, John. When times get tough, there is One who can get you through it!

I know you are on the other side of the country, but if there is anything I can do from here to help, let me know.

And if insurance doesn't pick up the tab for things your family needs, let me know. Happy to help as much as I can.
 

Woody's Workshop

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Thank You Kindly Everyone!
We moved from the hotel to a new apartment in the same complex. We are now A1 instead of D3.
No ground floor apartments were available, so it's an upstairs hike for now.
We are #1 on the waiting list for 3 bedroom ground floor apartment, as this one is only 2 bedroom.
Our son is sleeping on the couch in the living room.
I just now got the computer hooked back up. I have to clear the bed and make it ready for sleep asap.
We unfortunately did not have renter insurance, or insurance of any kind.
We have had help from the Red Cross, Good Will and private doners.
Used beds are not the best, but at least we have one to sleep in, as does mother donated by my brother's friend recently returning from the West Coast.
I'll do more up dates later, too busy right now to go into too much.
Thank You All Kindly Again for your best wishes.
John, AKA Woody
 

SteveA

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I can't even imagine. But, you and your family are alive. I hope that you can recover from this soon.

Best wishes.
Steve
 

T-Rex

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Glad to hear that things are starting to return to "normal" for you and your family. I am hopeful that somehow you will come out the other side of all this with a better normal than you have had for that last couple years.....
 

Woody's Workshop

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Good Morning all.
I'm going to take the time this morning before I start in sorting through the chaos mess of boxes.
As you know, we only had 4 hours to retrieve items from the fire damaged apartment, so you can imagine stuffing boxes with anything and everything of value in a hurry.

It all started about 6 months ago. The lady in D1, upstairs opposite us on the West end, moved in her sister and her 4 children. Between the 2 sisters they have 7 children with only one in the teens. A 2 bedroom apartment, how in the hell is that even legal. And why did the complex management allow this?
They would make all kinds of noise, loud music, yelling screaming, breaking almost every rule in the complex. Children climbing on cars and jumping from one to another while not being attended by an adult as they were suppose to be. Knocking on doors and running away, scattering other tenant's flower garden and lawn decorations all over the place.
At this time, almost everyone in the complex wrote to the office with dozens of complaints. Nothing was done.
A young couple with children, he is X military, moved in under the people in D1 (right next to us) at the beginning of March. Between then and the time of the fire they had called the police 5 times to deal with the activities in D1. Again, we all wrote a letter to the office demanding they be evicted this time.
The reason they gave for not evicting them is that there were too many empty apartments at the time. I found out later there were 3-2 bedroom upstairs and 1-3 bedroom ground floor apartments empty at the time of the fire. The ground floor and 1 upstairs apartments that were vacant were in the building that burned. All I can say is I hope they were worth keeping around to the owners of the complex!

I think there is some kind of politics involved and it being low income housing. The determination of the fire was said to be accidental. I know the people in D1 lied about the cause of the fire. I have recently found out that the older boy, 15, his pregnant 14 year old girl friend, another male teenager guest and 2 female guests (one also being pregnant) that night were playing with fire crackers on the balcony. That's where the fire started.
The 2 sisters of all these children made it common practice to supply teenagers with liquor and encourage miners to sleep together in that apartment. You see, these 2 sisters have children for income, and were encouraging young people to do the same. The kind of people that would not, could not abide by rules. Has no respect for people or their property. Only the kind of people you find in large cities...or so I thought.

There were about 12 people in that apartment at the time of the fire. The fire started on D1's balcony, where the drunken minors were dropping lit fire crackers into a 1/2 empty 151 Rum bottle. They thought it funny as the fuse would go out when it hit the liquor due to low oxygen level inside the bottle. Until one of the fire cracker's fuse went very fast...
It exploded inside the bottle, exploding the bottle and spreading flaming liquor all over the deck board balcony, vinyl siding and soffit.
There was no fire wall anywhere in the building. Only vinyl soffit was above the balcony, opening the entire attic of the building available to fuel the fire. It only took 10 minutes for the fire to spread to one end of the building to the other. Going against the wind at that.

Now, the tenants of D1 said they were not to blame because their apartment did not have a fire extinguisher. While the absence of a fire extinguisher may be true...If you play with fire you are going to get burnt. I know we tried for the first 3 years we lived in our apartment to get a fire extinguisher, and I ended up buying one myself. Just because I couldn't live with myself if a small grease fire on the stove ended up burning down the building when it was avoidable. But that is a matter to take up with the complex, and the small extinguisher that is supplied in some of the apartments would not have been enough to put out the amount of fire they had caused anyways.

We were staying in a hotel in the next city, The Quality Inn of Big Rapids. The first night there, I knew the people in D1 was there as well...the same noise we have been dealing with at the apartment. Our maid on the 2nd morning said the teen boy came to her early that morning with puke soaked bedding, wanting to know what to do with it as he said he had too much to drink the night before. She said take it to the guest laundry room and wash it, LOL. So, you would think loosing everything you owned due to drunken minors playing with fire would be enough to change the style of life you lead. But no, the 2 sisters are using Red Cross money to buy minors liquor...as usual.
However, it seams the same corporation that owns the apartment complex owns the Quality Inn where we/they WERE staying. Once they found out that the people that caused the fire in D1 was staying at the Quality Inn, they kicked them out.

Complaints were made to the Red Cross, Good Will and DHS (not by us) about the miss-use of the funds that were given to those 2 sisters as well.
Red Cross makes you sign a paper that says you won't use the money they give you for certain things, like liquor.
Red Cross is seeking to get their funding back. As well as DHS, and Good Will is asking for their donations in clothing and other needs back.
I understand DHS is also opening a miss use of funds case and is shutting them off completely.
This I know because one of the sisters seen my wife Tina in the office of the Quality Inn and she was complaining to everyone there about what was going on...the above mentioned actions.

I think it worth mentioning also that both sisters have had neglect and child abuse cases open for some time. As I said, they have children for income. They have no real family values what so ever. I can only hope that they move back to Nevada, in which they came before moving to Michigan. (Sorry to anyone that reads this that lives in Nevada...nothing personal)
What I truly wish for is that the young children be taken away from these 2 ladies and put in good foster homes where they can grow up learning what family life should be like. Learn respect for people and their property, and for them selves. As for the teen boy, he needs prosecuted for arson, as well has his girl friend, his male friend and his girl friend, and a third girl that was involved in the liquor and fire cracker game they were playing. I don't think they can actually see past their own loss, or much care about any of the damage and loss to all the other tenants in that building. And honestly believe that the fire was not, in any part, their fault.
They have tried to sneak back into the apartment building late at night twice. Why, I don't know...there is nothing left of their apartment. But they have been caught both times by the local city police. The management of the complex has served both sisters with legal papers, making it illegal for either of them, or any of their children to set foot on the premises.

It took us 2-1/2 years to pay for our couch and love seat from the local rent to own place, and we just paid it off. Now we have a piece of junk couch and 2 swivel rockers that is completely worn out. I bought a new bed for our son when we moved in and one for my mother. Now my son sleeps on that junk couch because he has no bed room. My mother needs help getting out of the worn out bed that was donated as it sinks in the middle so far. And Tina and I sleep on bed that is also worn out and we both wake with awful back aches.
Most of our clothing was saved, but the smell of smoke just won't go away. Most of the cloths that were donated are too big, too small, or worn out and only good for the rag bag.
We are thankful for the donations, although they are not as good as we had. We have something, and are out of the hotel to a more stable living environment.
I don't know how long it will take to recover from this. One thing that helps is the rent is reduced almost $200 so we are able to keep the internet, home phone and TV on.

I will take some pictures when I find my camera, providing I can find some batteries, and post some pics of the building as it progresses through it's partial demo stage. I found out just a few minutes ago from the site maintenance man that they are removing the 2nd floor only, removing drywall, light fixtures and outlets on the ground floor. Then they will rebuild the 2nd story and finish up the ground floor. This is contrary to what the Fire Investigator told us, which he said the building would have to come completely down. How they are getting away with that, I can only guess the owners have lots of money and money is power!
The good thing is, there will be fire break walls installed, and a water fire arrest system installed. (Per updated code since the original place was built)

Also, if anyone is interested...Links to the local news station is below on the fire.
HERE
HERE
HERE
and HERE
I don't have any speakers right now, so I am unable to hear what is being said. Mine was water damaged. And the library don't have speakers on there computers either...obviously. I need to see if head phones will work.

A go fund me page would be really help us out if someone was to start one. Anything would be greatly and dearly appreciated.
Thank You All Kindly again for your support! It helps keep my trying to keep a positive attitude. And I have to admit, right now it's been the most challenging thing I've tried to do.
And I almost just want to give up. I know my health issues are not going to get better, but at least at some point...life will get better. I hope I have the patient's to see it through to the end.
 

Zeus-cat

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Woody, I think you need to report the adults to the police. Allowing minor children to drink in their apartment is illegal and maybe the only way to get these kids out of their "care". Don't do it to be spiteful, do it because these kids need decent parenting.
 

Marc_G

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I'm so glad you and your family survived. I can't imagine the property owner isn't trying to settle with you out of court. So many well documented infractions seem to have taken place in this saga.
 

Woody's Workshop

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The property owner isn't responsible for our belongings. That was made clear on signing the lease. They said they recommend getting renter's insurance. We never dreamed something like this could happen at this place. It has strict rules, but somehow these 2 women slipped through rules...continuously. I doubt it will happen again after this incident. We could see an attorney, and see what he says. But if we sue and win, we would have to find a new place to live.
 

Flyfalcons

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A copy of all the complaints about the problem residents should go a long way toward management making things right with a settlement. At some point it did become their problem.
 

Zeus-cat

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The property owner isn't responsible for our belongings. That was made clear on signing the lease. They said they recommend getting renter's insurance. We never dreamed something like this could happen at this place. It has strict rules, but somehow these 2 women slipped through rules...continuously. I doubt it will happen again after this incident. We could see an attorney, and see what he says. But if we sue and win, we would have to find a new place to live.

I am not a lawyer and don't know the laws in your area, but signing a piece of paper saying that aren't responsible usually doesn't protect them if they are at fault. And if they knowingly ignored serious infractions by these bad neighbors they are negligent. As you said, you have to weigh the chances of winning against having to leave and find a new place. Plus, how much would you win after paying a lawyer?
 

Woody's Workshop

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I think the best chance is a group suit of effected tenants in that building. I know one woman is a teacher for special ed from Germany and is working on a green card. She won't get involved because of that, plus she had insurance. The couple that had the police reports also had insurance, and has since moved away. The 2 brothers that lived above us had no insurance, and I'm sure they would get involved because they are not coming back. Another woman just moved in from out of state after a divorce. She had no insurance with 3 kids, lost everything. She took another apartment, only to move away a week later. I'm sure she would go along with it. The problem would be locating all these people and getting them to agree to a group suit of negligence. As I said, some had insurance, some moved away, one doesn't want to make waves of any kind in fear of getting deported.
Yes, Life sucks, but we have a place, not as good as we had it, but we were able to save some stuff. The firemen took all the unreplaceable pictures and put them on the dinning room table and covered them up with a tarp. So they survived. Some one stole one of the 2 pair of pants I salvaged at the hotel, so I'm down to one pair of pants. But at least I have 1.
I must focus on positive things, not get mixed up in too much "what if" scenario's. If I go at them ourselves, even if we loose, we will be evicted. That's in the lease agreement. They have covered their asses pretty well. And I think it would all fall down on the cause of the fire determined by the Fire Investigator. Accidental, they called it. I know for sure...It was not.
 
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