Verhalen Assessing Damages From Fourth of July Fire
The former mayoral candidate and current school board member, who owns the property that caught fire during the July 4 fireworks, said he plans to file a claim with the city.
The property that caught fire during the Oak Creek Fourth of July fireworks display is owned by former mayoral candidate Mark Verhalen, who said Monday he is still assessing the damage.
Verhalen said he plans to file a claim with the city for his losses, though he does not anticipate it being a huge amount and hopes he can work with Oak Creek to reach an agreement.
Verhalen farms in the area that caught on fire, but he wasn't yet sure of the extent of any crop damage.
The Oak Creek Fire Department said it contained the fire to about a one-acre area just east of East Middle School, where the fireworks were shot off. The blaze put a halt to the fireworks about 10 minutes into the display.
Fire officials said they worked with Verhalen and the Oak Creek-Franklin School District to heavily water the area prior to July 4. But in the midst of drought-like conditions, that still couldn't stop the land from catching fire. The fire department was closely monitoring the area and extinguished the fire in about 15 minutes.
A grass fire also stopped the fireworks in Waukesha.
Verhalen, who owns several properties in Oak Creek, is a four-time candidate for mayor who most recently ran last April and lost to current mayor Steve Scaffidi. He is also a member of the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board.