After gas explosion, an insurance battle for some in Royal Oak - KMSP-TV

After gas explosion, an insurance battle for some in Royal Oak

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Royal Oak resident Jim Hanson said dealing with his insurance company has "been a nightmare and surprisingly so." Royal Oak resident Jim Hanson said dealing with his insurance company has "been a nightmare and surprisingly so."
ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) -

The brickwork on Jim Hanson's home on Cooper Avenue is damaged. He said a natural gas explosion back in February was enough to shake his house and plenty of others.

"I was sitting on my computer doing some work, and the explosion, it knocked me off the couch, and the percussion, I'd never heard anything like that," he told me.

Now he said there are cracks and damage he is arguing over with his insurance company because they claim the problems are pre-existing.

"It's been a nightmare and surprisingly so," Hanson said. "Sure there were some cracks in the plaster. There were some things existing with hardwood floors, but the explosion certainly worsened all of that, and I don't think there should be any questions asked with regards to fixing it."

Hanson is not alone. Several neighbors have said they feel like their insurance companies are working against them. 22 people have also filed claims against Consumers Energy for physical and emotional injuries.

The city manager said his office is not involved with individual claims. He said that is between homeowners and their insurance companies.

He also said Royal Oak will be sending a bill to Consumers Energy for all the time spent by city workers involved in the cleanup and investigation.

Nearly three months after the deadly blast, the most severely damaged homes are finally being demolished.

Scott Goodwin, an attorney who represents several homeowners, told us by phone the gas line Consumers Energy was putting in at the time of the blast still has not been completed. He said the utility company is blaming the delay on pending litigation, but Goodwin said there are no legal issues standing in the way.

It could be several more months before repairs are completed and displaced residences are able to move back home.

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