Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Boston home lost to fire, no insurance

home owners insurance

A New Boston couple lost their home and possessions in a devastating fire on Oct. 28. Richard and Gail Riendeau of 97 Saunders Hill Road did not have homeowners insurance.

Gail Riendeau’s brother, Steven Christensen, said they were dropped by multiple insurers. “For whatever reason their insurance company, their homeowners, dropped them,” he said.

He said his sister then tried another company who would not insure them. They were insured for some time by Lloyd’s of London, he said, but were dropped again. “Nobody gave them a reason as to why they dropped them,” he said. “She eventually ended up calling the insurance commission and ended up getting no results.”

Now, the two have lost their home, belongings and the tools needed for Richard Riendeau’s work in the fire, which officials said may have been caused by a candle. “It’s an awful sad story. He’s self-employed as a remodeling contractor, and he had started remodeling their house. They were in that home for close to 30 years,” he said.

Gail Riendeau has multiple sclerosis and cannot work, Christensen said. “Richard has pretty serious burns. He won’t be able to work, even if he had some (work), for a little while,” Christensen said.

He said Riendeau got second- degree burns on the bottom of his feet while trying to put out the fire.

The couple is currently staying with Gail Riendeau’s son from a previous marriage, Christensen said. But their family does not have much money to help them: Gail’s son is a single father to four children, and her parents are elderly and have limited resources, he said. “They have no insurance. He really has had no work because of the recession, and they both have serious health conditions,” Christensen added.

Richard Riendeau recently had surgery on a tumor in his pituitary gland, he said.

It is not clear if any of the home will be salvageable.

“What I am concerned about is that he might end up with just the lot in New Boston,” Christensen said. “(Richard) is able, once he recovers, of (rebuilding) it himself, but he needs the tools and at least a line of credit.” “We only have so many resources, and they’re also too proud to ask for a lot of it, too,” he added.

For now, he said the family is just finding it hard to believe how much they have lost. “It’s really devastating, and they’re still in a daze,” Christensen said.

A fund has been set up at TD Bank at 2 High St., P.O. Box 310, New Boston, NH 03070. Monetary donations may be mailed to the Riendeau Fire Fund at that branch or made in person at any TD Bank branch.

Personal items may be donated by contacting Shannon Silver, New Boston health officer, at 487-5504, ext. 108.