Blight Beat: Ypsilanti Township pressures insurer on building damaged in Molotov cocktail attack
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Following a dispute with its insurer and subsequent arbitration, an Ypsilanti Township apartment complex soon will begin repairs on a building heavily damaged by Molotov cocktail attacks and the resulting fire.
The building, in the Woodcreek Apartments complex, has sat vacant since July 10 when the incidents occurred.
Ypsilanti Township Building Inspector Ron Fulton said Woodcreek’s management has selected a contractor to complete the repairs on the eight-unit building. Three of the units were reported as heavily damaged, while the remaining five sustained moderate damage.
The insurance company withheld the claim in a dispute over the extent and value of the damage.
Original reports to AnnArbor.com stated the structure sustained an estimated $120,000 worth of damage, with an additional $50,000 in damages to the contents.
A subsequent vehicle fire caused an additional $4,000 in damages.
The issue went before an arbitrator in both December and January, and an agreement was reached in February.
Township Attorney Doug Winters said he expects the management company will move quickly now that an agreement has been reached, and township officials have put pressure on the insurance company to expedite the process, which is delaying the rebuilding of a large structure along Forest Ave.
"Doug Winters has written multiple wonderful Doug Winters letters to the insurance company," Fulton said.
Officials say the fire was started around 12:20 a.m. in a ground-level apartment by a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window. The fire quickly spread and damaged the units directly above, as well as across from it.
No injuries were reported, though everyone living in the building needed to be evacuated, including six adults and four children.
With at least 12 additional firefighters from the Ypsilanti, Superior Township and Pittsfield Township fire departments assisting on the scene - as well as officers with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s office - witnesses said they saw a woman lighting a car on fire in a parking lot at 738 Woodcreek Court.
The woman was seen throwing something inside the driver’s side door, and the car soon erupted in flames around 2:50 a.m.
The vehicle fire was extinguished by firefighters already on the scene, and both fires were completely extinguished before 4 a.m.