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Nightmare of rebuilding after house fire made worse by pandemic

<i>KCTV</i><br/>Jim Cummins house was destroyed by fire two years ago. And while that’s devastating
Jim Cummins house was destroyed by fire two years ago. And while that’s devastating

By Angie Ricono and Cyndi Fahrlander

Click here for updates on this story

    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — Jim Cummins house was destroyed by fire two years ago. And while that’s devastating, the home was insured and he thought he’d be able to rebuild. He was wrong.

“It baffles the imagination,” said Cummings. “I mean, in my wildest dream or nightmare I could not have dreamed going through something like this.”

Two years later, Cummings’ home is still under construction with no end in sight. He gave us a tour—showed us where the rooms will be when, or maybe if, the rebuilding is finished. Right now, he just says it’s a mess.

“It’s constant panic; it’s constant depression; it’s constant,” said Cummings. “You know, all that stuff. Everything is just constant.”

Keep in mind that the home was insured. Cummings says he’s struggling with the budget sent by the insurance company.

The issue comes down to bad timing.

The house fire happened near the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Remember the supply issues?

“We had workers, but we couldn’t get supplies,” said Cummings. And even when he could find supplies, he couldn’t afford them. “Plywood before covid was 15 dollars a sheet, now it’s 48 dollars a sheet.”

Jim has been on a crusade to address his problem. He’s called on Senators and the Insurance Commission seeking help. He even started a GoFundMe, all in the hopes of completing the rebuild.

He told us he has learned a lot through the process. He now knows that new building codes require upgrades not covered in his insurance payment.

“They don’t want the old gas lines, they want the new type gas lines,” he said.

Our investigative team reached out to his insurance company on his behalf and received this limited response:

Thank you for your inquiry, Angie. This claim has not been concluded yet, and any discussion of it by Farm Bureau Financial Services is premature.

Jim went public not only to expose what’s going on, but to warn other homeowners to check the value of their homes, it has likely changed. He also advises to homeowners to check their policies to be sure they are fully insured. He hopes he can save someone from the same heartache—and headache he’s endured.

“The only way that I get through my day to day is literally (telling myself) ‘It’s got to get better. It’s got to get better,’” he said. “It’s going to turn around.”

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