Says insurance delays mean it likely won’t be completed until Christmas
It’ll likely be close to Christmas before a Paradise strip mall gutted by fire last March, destroying several businesses, is rebuilt, according to the building’s owner.
Clarence Murphy told The Telegram Monday he had hoped to have it completed by September, but delays with the insurance company have held things up.
“They’re horrid (to deal with). Trying to get a dollar out of them … It’s bad, really bad,” said Murphy, of Hubert Murphy Ltd. general contractors in Paradise, who didn’t want to name the insurance company.
“It’s been five months now ... I’ve sent emails and called. They just don’t get back to you.”
The fire broke out in the afternoon of March 2 at the strip mall on Topsail Road, leaving businesses such as Outport Restaurant and Pub, Arizona Heat, the Nail Garden, Paradise Flowers and Academy for Mathematics and English in ashes and dozens out of work.
Police determined the fire, which started in the Subway side of the property, was not suspicious in nature and was likely electrical in nature.
The day after the fire, Murphy took a walk through the property and told The Telegram at the scene that he wanted to rebuild as soon as possible as he was concerned about the people who would be out of work due to the fire.
But on Monday, Murphy said the insurance company is making that a difficult task.
He said about a week after the blaze, he had received about $15,000 from the lost income insurance (when owed more than $60,000) and he hasn’t received anything for lost rent or for the rebuild.
“I’ve soon got to light a fire underneath them because I’ve got windows ordered, siding, insulation, electrical and people are looking for deposits and here I am spending my own money and the insurance company has been MIA,” said Murphy, who said his company had business interruption insurance. “It’s terrible.”
After receiving a demolition permit from the town council, he said, his company was able to clean up the rubble and things had been progressing recently. A stop-work request from the town council had temporarily delayed things — as not all the paperwork for the reconstruction had been complete — but he said work will resume on Wednesday.
“It’s a really good feeling to get it going again,” he said. “I’m just anxious to get it all done.”
Murphy said several of the business owners that were in the strip mall have contacted him wondering about the status of the rebuild.
“They’re all in limbo and I’m trying my best, but I’m hitting road blocks …. It’s frustrating,” he said. “Between this and the construction on Paradise Road, where our offices are, I’m ready to pull my hair out.”