Days after a Gainesville apartment explosion, twelve people are still unable to return to their homes in the Southwest Villas Apartments because the damage is too great.
Structural engineers won’t clear the property for re-entry as yet, and the investigation is ongoing. The good news is, those residents who had Gainesville renters insurance can get their hotel stays paid for in the interim by the loss of use coverage on their policies. So was this explosion ill will, or just simple bad luck? Time will tell, but we’ve uncovered details that point strongly to an answer.
A second story unit in the center of the building was the source of the apartment explosion, blowing out windows and sending personal property flying. As scattered remains of the lives of the residents of that apartment began to fall to the ground like a blizzard of children’s clothing and personal mementos, firefighters worked tirelessly to extinguish the blaze. When the fire was under control, one question was on everyone’s mind: Why? That’s always the question asked after an apartment fire, but it’s a particularly interesting question in this case.
After the apartment explosion and ensuing fire had been dealt with, residents began to look around at the items that had been blown from the apartment in the explosion. Something seemed off, but it didn’t quite click for anyone in that moment. Later, when firefighters entered the apartment where the blaze began, they, too, felt something was off. It didn’t take them long to discover what that something might be.
The occupied apartment had a noticeable dearth of personal items, electronics, clothing, or anything else of value. Considering that not everything had been blown out the windows in the initial explosion, this seemed more than a bit strange. Even after the fire, a strong odor of gasoline remained, as well. In the kitchen and outside one of the bedrooms, firefighters found two large, red marine gasoline tanks and the picture became quite clear.
No bad luck was to be found here, only pure evil. It is presumed at this time that the apartment explosion was an intentional act. While we don’t know why, or whether this was an act of revenge, an act of desperation, or an act of boredom, we can pretty well piece together what happened.
The occupants of the unit that suffered an apartment explosion had, over a period of approximately two weeks, conspired to make a fast buck. One source reports that eleven days before the fire a resident took out a Florida renters insurance policy with contents coverage of nearly fifty thousand dollars. Following that, it appears that over some days everything of value was slowly removed from the unit that would shortly suffer the apartment explosion.
Once belongings, valuables, and electronics had been removed from the apartment, the residents apparently brought in the gasoline tanks and set fire to them. It’s worth noting that immediately after the fire, a claim was filed under their renters insurance policy.
We’ve touched on the veracity of renters insurance claims in the past, asking how insurance companies detect renters insurance fraud, addressing a woman who asked on Yahoo Answers why her renters insurance claim was being investigated, and even reviewing the worst renters insurance fraud of the year. While it’s not proof in and of itself, the presence of the gasoline tanks, especially the one outside a bedroom, and the fact that the residents removed things of value before the fire are strong indicators that this apartment explosion and resulting claim might bear further scrutiny.
We’re glad to report no serious injuries from this apartment explosion, and Effective Coverage extends our sympathies to the victims of this senseless act of violence towards the neighbors. We offer our hopes that all the victims will soon be able to return home and resume some sense of normalcy in their lives.