Southold fire victims will receive little from insurance

03/01/2011 10:59 AM |

COURTESY PHOTO

Things were bad enough for Janine and John Bakanic after their house off North Bayview Road in Southold burned to the ground last Friday afternoon.

This week they took another hard blow when they learned their insurance company will cover only the cost of the materials they used to build the house 10 years ago.

The cost of materials a decade ago was half what they’d be today, Mrs. Bakanic said on Monday. “We’re only being covered for what we borrowed, not for rebuild costs or housing or contents,” she added. “If there’s anything people should know, they need to know that they have to insure their property for those things.

“We have family all right around us, but everything’s gone,” she said. She, her husband and their 12-year-old daughter Jessie are staying with Mrs. Bakanic’s parents in Southold.

“All the girls from my daughter’s sixth-grade class brought cupcakes, and all the neighbors have given us clothes, money and food. It’s so sweet.”

Family members live in the neighborhood around the charred remains of their house, where they keep three horses in a barn that was not affected by the fire. A dog also survived.

The family was on a trip to Riverhead when the Bakanics’ niece spotted the fire and rescued their German shepherd from an outdoor pen adjacent to the house at about 3:45 p.m. Friday. By the time firefighters arrived, the house was engulfed in flames.

One hundred firefighters from the Southold and Cutchogue fire departments, as well as a pumper truck from Greenport, were on the scene for nearly six and a half hours Friday afternoon and evening. Mrs. Bakanic said they brought in excavators to tamp down the smoldering ashes of the house. Members of the Greenport and Mattituck fire departments were on standby at the Southold firehouse while Southold firefighters were on the call.

“When we were in Riverhead, we were hysterical crying, but the whole way back, my daughter was patting me on the back and saying ‘Don’t worry mom. We’ll be OK,’ ” she said.

Mrs. Bakanic said that an arson investigator had told her that they would likely never know the cause because everything had burned to the ground.

“He said it was probably electrical, but we don’t know what it was.” Just before the fire broke out, “We had breakfast and left. It was a typical morning,” she said.

The Bakanics are members of the East End Livestock and Horsemen’s Association, which has been providing feed for the horses since the fire, and Agway in Southold has set up a fund to pay for the care of the horses as well as the family’s chickens.

“But all the saddles and the helmets burned in the fire,” Mrs. Bakanic said. “We just bought our daughter an Amish cart and that’s gone. I couldn’t care less about any of the contents of the house, but it hurts to think of what my daughter lost.”

“We’re going to have a hard time rebuilding. We’re basically going to have to beg and borrow,” she said. “If anyone wants to offer us building materials, that’s what we’re going to need. We’re thankful, we’re both working and we’re both healthy. It’s so hard to accept help, but sometimes you just have to.”

Mrs. Bakanic said that she still had a bag of clothes in her truck that she had been planning to donate to a thrift shop in

Riverhead Friday afternoon, when they got the call that their house was on fire.

Since the fire, Mrs. Bakanic said that many strangers have been coming up their long driveway to gawk at the ruins.
“They’re really being obtrusive, coming down here,” she said. “It’s terrible.”

But it’s the loss of family memorabilia that is the hardest part of losing her home.

“One lesson I would like anybody to get from this is get all your photos on a disk and get it out of your house. My firebox is in there somewhere, but who says it’s any good,” she said. “Losing the photographs is the worst.”

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Comments

comments

3,449 Comment

  • One article the was in the Suffolk Times stated that this house was ONE of several on a family compound. I feel bad about the loss of memorabilia but I am thankful no one died or was hurt in this fire. You obviously were gravely UNDERinsured and want the community to compensate for that…why? Unless you paid cash(no loans) to build that house I can’t see why you didn’t have proper insurance. Ok,,,I bought my car with cash(no loans),,,and when I bought my insurance for that car I did not say please give me only enough to replace my car with one that is 10 years older than mine if I total it…does that make sense? People being “obtrusive”? Maybe they need to SEE the devastation to find it in their hearts to help strangers that are begging for it , over what perhaps could be pure carelessness on your behalf as you stated you made a quick breakfast shows you were in a rush and people get careless when rushing. Or maybe they want to extend their sorrow for your loss…oh but I forgot unless they are donating materials,money or whatever you don’t want them there right? They don’t need to hear that you were going to donate a bag of clothes as a pat on you own back ok.

  • wow aren’t you just a bundle of sunshine to be around, it is obvious she is just stressing right now. and YOU are a jerk for even saying these things

  • What Homeowner Insurance Company was used? The Insurance Policy has a Replacement Cost Dollar Value for Primrary Dwelling and as a Replacement Cost for Contents and (Other Dwellings). The homeowner stated that the Insurance only will cover the materials? Every year Insurance Companies usualy review the Replacement Costs in Current Dolllars as to make sure the Homeowner is not underinsured. This Homeowner Policy doesn’t make sense. I insure my home for aprox. $200 per square foot based on todays (2011) building costs.

  • Blah,Blah,Blah.

  • Thank YOU….someone else has a brain here! Or at least BASIC knowledge of how homeowners insurance works. See Dawn…I am not trying to be a “jerk” as you called me but something is not right about this whole thing. And since when can’t a house be inspected for arson?

  • Seriously?? You put that out there for all to read?? Certainly hope nothing as devastating as what happened to this family happens to you! Heartless much??

  • Jade, why the need to punch someone when they are down? I think the owner mentioned the bag of clothing to suggest that they at least have those items to use. Their insurance agent might have not counseled them correctly about the insurance policy. It might have been a fire policy which does not cover contents. Maybe even they were both working they still couldn’t afford a typical Homeowners policy. Some times people are naive and don’t think something will happen. I didn’t get the impression that they want the community to compensate them. Help them, sure why not. Thats what life should be all about helping others. Not kicking them when they are down. I really don’t understand the tone of your memo to someone who obviously has had a loss like this. Its okay to ask for help. And I can also appericate how it might make them uncomfortable to have people come up the drive to look at what is left of what was once their home. I do agree they are lucky that no one was injuired and or killed.

  • Negative commentators: Are you writing from your houses right now? Look around. Imagine that everything, everything around you is gone. The insurance doesn’t matter. These people lost EVERYTHING that they own and their entire house. Are any of you parents? Their 12-year old daughter lost everything that she owned. Can you even imagine what that must be like for her? That’s the bottom line. We all as a local community should find it in our hearts, closets & wallets to help this family. How would you feel if you lost everything and people said these things about you?

    Think before you speak & write. Just because you can be semi-anonymous doesn’t mean that you can be nasty.

  • There’s a big difference in what “Taxed to Death” said and what you said, Dawn. If “something is not right”, maybe that’s how you should have originally worded it instead of attacking this family.

  • Wow, I don’t know if I would be sayin’ that my 12yo lost her Amish Cart,saddles and stuff that was associated with the horse they own, poor little her. I found out last week that a lady in my area that has cancer had to give her cat away because she could not afford the litter and food for her cat which was her only companion and the agway place is going to donate care and food to these people that have luxury animals? I don’t see the fairness.

  • You (Jade) are one of the biggest A-Holes I have ever read, You do not have a clue what you are talking about, You need to shut up.

  • Ok I will say it. Thank God for the 100+VOLUNTEER firefighters and EMTs who selflessly put their lives at risk and left their own familes to battle this blaze!

  • WOW. This new forum thing on the ST site really brings out the worst in our community

  • WOW. This new forum thing on the ST site really brings out the worst in our community

  • I would like to get a copy of their Insurance Premium and review the policy specifics. I smell attorney’s and a lawsuit brewing here!

    I give sincere sympathy to the Family and thanks to First Responders for controlling and containing the blaze.

  • Really? A lot of those first responders are the “union employees” that you are so willing to crush!

  • Oops, I was responding to Jade’s comment but wrote Dawn in my response. Sorry, Dawn.

  • While this is quite a hardship for this family, it’s not a tragedy. No one was hurt or killed in the fire. Of course, this won’t stop the bleeding hearts here from condemning anyone suggesting that personal responsibilty be taken into consideration (oh no, must be those “evil” insurance agents).

    They had a substantial custom home built on their family’s “compound”. No one without at least a little business saavy could make it through that process.

    To imply that they didn’t understand the basics of homeowners insurance is really naive.

    Something else is going on here, either the house was uninsurable or, more likely, they opted for very low cost insurance. This brings up the next point. This home had no mortgage, which may explain why they opted for minimal insurance coverage.

    These people are not destitute, and are both employed. They can rent a home like so many others.

    Stop trying to turn this into a sob story requiring immediate handouts. Otherwise, lets just all drop insurance coverage becuase others will pick up the tab for your bad decisions.

  • At least the COP’s were actually doing something to earn the “hefty” $120K Salaries instead of sitting in their patrol cars in some parking lot talking with one another.

    Thanks to all the “non-public” working First Resppnder volunteer’s that assisted.

  • Now that is very on the money! Bet ya’ get flagged for making sense though.

  • I wasn’t referring to the cops pal. 😉 Get a life… I’m onto you.

  • The firefighters are volunteers, who have jobs in the community and pay taxes and complain about the taxes. The difference is that they volunteer their free time to help others in the community. All are dedicated volunteers.

  • I cannot understand how this homeowner has not updated their insurance policy in 10 years!!!!!! Who does that? Currenty people should be insured for AT LEAST $200 per square foot. And everyone has replacement cost for contents….unless they have NO mortgage and opt for the cheapest policy available!

  • Justsaying…..NONE of those first responders are union employees! They are VOLUNTEERS

  • WOW YOU ARE REALLY A MEAN SPIRITED PERSON!!!!!!!!!!
    Where is your compassion? Answer, you have none.

  • OH MAN you are right on the money on this!!!! If you are lucky enough to have a good paying job today, the jealous/sour grapes people really rear their ugly heads!!!

  • Ummm….maybe they cant afford to, because their insurance premiums will go up?

  • Are you thinking the same …see my response below!

  • Really? I know they are volunteers — I’m talking about in their DAY JOBS — I can name at least ten people who responded who are PUBLIC EMPLOYEES and if Taxed to Death had his way…. they’d have top leave town. Is Taxed to Death fighting fires?

  • ha ha! Go fishing.

  • What Homeowner Insurance Company was used? The Insurance Policy has a Replacement Cost Dollar Value for Primrary Dwelling and as a Replacement Cost for Contents and (Other Dwellings). The homeowner stated that the Insurance only will cover the materials? Every year Insurance Companies usualy review the Replacement Costs in Current Dolllars as to make sure the Homeowner is not underinsured. This Homeowner Policy doesn’t make sense. I insure my home for aprox. $200 per square foot based on todays (2011) building costs.

  • I pay $2300.00 per year!

  • Wow! A fire turns into a fire-storm…wonder why? The bottom line is these folks lost their home. What ever happened to love your neighbor..Have some compassion!

  • Common Sense and Responsibility! Plan and make your best decisions in your life is the best you can do….but it could happen to anyone. Learn from your experiences.

  • Are you? Or are you just sitting back and collecting a pension or salary on my back?

  • I own my own business pal and I am VERY successful. I am sorry that You don’t have what it takes to be successful.

  • Enjoy! The Town wake up call is coming! Don’t worry, I’ll text message you on the golf course this Spring.

  • “We’re going to have a hard time rebuilding. We’re basically going to have to beg and borrow,” she said. “If anyone wants to offer us building materials, that’s what we’re going to need. ” Penny wise and pound foolish when it came to your insurance policy… Your bad decisions are to be erased with charity ? Unbelievable.

  • There are a lot of unhappy people out there. Do you feel better now that you have struck this family when they are down? You must all suffer from low self esteem to think that your comments are something that they would want to read. Go out and take a walk on this glorious day and say a prayer for yourselves, you need it, and you know who you are!