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Travelers must pay in squirrel dinner coverage dispute

Posted On: Jan. 17, 2017 10:48 AM CST

Travelers must pay in squirrel dinner coverage dispute

Travelers Insurance Co. remains on the hook for $300,000 worth of damages in a 2012 apartment complex fire in Holland, Michigan, caused by squirrel dinner preparations.

The Holland Sentinal newspaper has been following developments in a string of lawsuits filed after two insurers paid damages to a massive apartment complex fire caused by a tenant cooking a squirrel for dinner. 

According to a report, Khek Chanthalavong trapped and killed a squirrel to eat. While on his apartment's balcony, he used a propane torch to burn off the squirrel's fur as he prepared to cook the animal.

It was that propane torch, left on the balcony while Mr. Chanthalavong went inside, that ignited a blaze that displaced 29 families. The fire was reported to have caused $2 million in total damages. 

In 2014, Auto Owners Insurance Co. sued Mr. Chanthalavong to recover $56,000 in insurance payouts. In the latest suit, Travelers aimed to recover $300,000 from his roommate, Barbara Pellow, who also had renters insurance. Both suits accused the insured of negligence in causing the fire, although Ms. Pellow was asleep at the time, according to newspaper reports. 

On Friday, it was revealed that a Circuit Court judge had ordered Travelers to pay.