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 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 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 .

Verhalen, who owns several properties in Oak Creek, is a four-time candidate for mayor who most recently ran last April and lost to . He is also a member of the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board.

Melissa July 11, 2012 at 02:54 AM
It shouldn't matter how much money he has, Chris. He was wronged and should be compensated. Are you saying that you wouldn't seek damages if your crops were destroyed? I think anyone would want the fair value of what they lost - regardless of who caused the fire.
jack ryan July 11, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Crops were probably going to die in the drought anyway.
Resident of O.C. Paul July 11, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Jack, Regardless of whether or not the crops would have died...we don't know if they would have, nature loves to surprise us.and you know the "assume" saying, so don't be making assumptions...property damage is still property damage and an acre of land is a lot of area damaged due to the city's negligence... The city knew the plants were dry, and they went ahead with the fireworks display anyway knowing the potential for fire. Regardless of how well prepared the city was for a possible fire, one still got started. Maybe the city should have used their better judgement and common sense, and held off the fireworks display until a time when conditions were better, it would have been nice to have held them off for a Friday or Saturday night after a rainfall or 2, make an announcement, get people out for a nice fireworks display Instead of having a fireworks display because we can't wait and are all hyped up to hear something go bang and not think about the consequences with everything being so dry. Just a side note on nature surprising us: Last year I bought some annual flowers, and planted them in a flower box. Well, this year they came back...I was surprised to say the least because annuals die off in the fall. Now these flowers are my favorite flowers this year, and I've been taking very good care of them through this drought.
Resident of O.C. Paul July 11, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Melissa, you are right. He was wronged, and should be compensated for the damages done. Funny how some people think that just because he has money he should overlook this, what if it had been his house? Should he overlook that just because he has money? What about his vehicle? NO...The city wouldn't hesitate to seek restitution from us if we had done criminal damage to city property, and the city has money...I hope...they've been collecting taxes from us for years, but with the frivolous spending over the past years trying to validate the need for a new city hall, and other shoddy deals (School district land swap with Wis Park, vacant apartments, Apartment complexes as far as the eye can see, vacant commercial and industrial buildings...) the coffers should be near empty.
oak creek resident July 11, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Poor judgment led to property damage...simple as that. Pay the man.


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