Uncontrolled Squatter’s Warming Kitchen Fire May Not Be Vandalism Under Vacancy Exclusion

By Richard B. Wolf, Esq. | April 22, 2015

  • April 22, 2015 at 3:05 pm
    Barry Zalma says:
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    See my article on the same case where it appears the dissent was correct and the majority went against common sense at http://zalma.com/blog/when-is-an-intentionally-set-fire-not-vandalism/

    How can a trespasser setting a fire on a kitchen floor not be a criminal act of a vandal.

    • April 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm
      TD says:
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      To answer your question in the most simplistic terms: this “trespasser” as you call him had one purpose, and that was survival. There is no vandalism or malicious mischief intended. Moreover, the “trespasser” showed good intentions as evidenced by the attempt to minimize the effects of the unintended consequences of his accidental actions. A vandal is one who causes harm intentionally. Keep it simple.

  • May 6, 2015 at 3:53 pm
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    We are not given all the facts:
    1. Why was the house vacant, and how long?
    2. Did the so called squatter, break in or not?
    3. How can a reasonable person set a fire outside of a stove or
    other controllable fireplace, and not expect it to cause damage
    to a home?
    4. Why anyone would consider the act of survival – trying to
    prevent the now out of control fire he started from burning him,
    his things, and the house beyond what he thought was OK damage
    to do would negate his crimes, and thereby cause the fire loss
    to be covered rather than excluded seems to me to be an extreme
    position unsupported by law or common sense!

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