So this happend to our cottage Monday evening, 2/24:

Vikingstaff

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Drunk 20-something snowmobile driver went over the Sea Wall two lots down from our cottage. High rate of speed. Impact changed his trajectory our way. They went about 60-80‘ in the air, hit the ground and airborn again another 20-30’ into our yard. Shot forward on snowmobile due to landing upright, and crashed square into our deck and deck bench-tree. Their sled burst into flames, and the deck caught on fire. Rider unconscious for 14 minutes, and then awoken by flames and stumbles away from fire.

Details:

Dateline - 6:23 p.m. I get security camera notice at time of crash. I initially ignore it. Within seconds I get a second notification. Unusually to get two quick ones. I decide to open the app and see what’s up.

I see smoke rising from the cottage deck, but with camera angle cannot see snowmobile, rider, or start up flames. Within one minute flames are starting to rise about 5-6’ into camera view. I call 911 from our home downstate (2 hours away!). I get transferred up to Houghton Lake, and they dispatch firefighters and first responders.

Me and my oldest son are just sitting at home watching it all unfold on our security camera. Flames growing to about 2 stories tall, but still on deck. Just waiting for the side of the cottage to light up, or windows to break from heat and have the fire come inside. We see the driver stagger up from regaining consciousness after about 14 minutes and stumble away. We see flames getting bigger and little mini-explosions periodically.

Finally we see firefighters and hoses. We see them put it all out, and start surveying the situation/scene. I pack quickly and head up north. In transit I get a call from a firefighter (volunteer firefighter that is also the guy that puts in and takes out our dock). He lets me know they saved the cottage. Nothing breached the interior. Says state police apprehended the drunk snowmoblie driver, but that he is being sent to the hopital with injuries.

A totally crazy situation! It was surreal, in a panicky manner, watching it all unfold from our home security cameras and knowing we couldn’t do anything to help. As many of you know, I put in the cameras to watch the boat and dock in the summer due to the cottage next door becoming a VRBO last year. I NEVER imagined my security camera’s would save our cottage from a fire, started by a snowmobile crashing into our deck.

Insurance agent and insurance adjuster both said this was a first for them. Reminded me of those Farmers Insurance “Hall of Claims” commercials: “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

Flames rising up after accident:

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Remains of snowmobile after accident:

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Cottage the next morning:

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View from lake of initial impact with Sea Wall with trajectories:

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View standing on Sea Wall at initial impact looking towards cottage for perspective:

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Debris everywhere. But House is saved. It is going to need some good clean up, and the cottage will need some good fixing up:

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Vikingstaff

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Below are links to the YouTube video uploads.

Crash Video from Security Cam

Flames Rising Up - 1 minute after Crash

Fire Raging. Driver Regains Consciousness and Stumbles Away

Photo Collage Video

Parents of the 20-something young man that was driving reached out to me. He has serious injuries, but survived. He is in the hospital up in Traverse City. Firefighters told me that without the camera alert and me calling 911 right away, that we would have absolutely lost the entire cottage. I believe it.
 

lakeliving

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Damn. Glad it wasn’t worse. Hopefully that moron has insurance and yours will subrogate against his for the damages covering your damages and your deductible
 

Vikingstaff

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Damn. Glad it wasn’t worse. Hopefully that moron has insurance and yours will subrogate against his for the damages covering your damages and your deductible
Crazy, huh!?! We are so lucky we didn’t lose the place. The young man is lucky he is alive, but not sure with his injuries what recovery looks like for him.

The parents of the driver say they have good insurance and wanted to assure me they want me taken care of by it. Our insurance got an adjuster out the next day with me to go over it all and begin the claim process.

If their insurance plays nice, I can get it all taken care of that way. If not, I will have to file the claim we started with our insurance, and go the route you mentioned: File our claim and get it taken care of, have our insurance subrogate for damages from theirs, and hopefully get enough to cover out dedcutable .

Due to cooperativeness of other party for now, we are hoping to just get it taken care of directly with their insurer so we don’t have a filed homeowners claim. That said, if they don’t play nice, then we are all set with our agent and insurer to move forward.

Now on to figuring out people for bids, and clean up. So not looking forward to this process...
 

Michiman

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Wow, what a story! Glad to see that you didn't lose your cottage and that the driver wasn't killed because it appears both could have happened. I can't imagine watching that unfold in front of you (kind of) in real time. On a positive note, maybe this is your opportunity to transform your deck design and perhaps do away with the upkeep (e.g. Trexx)??
 

Remediation

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This story has a similar thread to a yacht owners break in. Their security camera went off while they were out of state. They called 911, which connects locally. That 911 center does not have the ability to connect to the needed jurisdiction. The moral of the story is, for everybody with their video systems get an emergency number (non 911) for the police, fire in your cabins location.
 

Michiman

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Great video (love the music)! So, have you been interviewed by the Houghton Lake Resorter?
 

sjhorner9475

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Jeff,

Sorry to hear about this but glad the cottage was saved. Best of luck with dealing with the insurance company. I hope all goes well.

Reminded me of a fire caused by a lighting strike at one of the condo buildings in our complex at the lake. The building was a total loss and it took nearly two years to go through all the insurance issues to get it rebuilt. Thankfully our condo was in a different building.

 

lakeliving

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You can use whatever contractor you want so make sure you find one you are comfortable with. Don’t let them push one that you are iffy on.
 

Alicedream

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Jeff..sorry to see this. Could have been a lot worse. Really glad to see the cottage standing.
 

lakeliving

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I noticed in the video there appears to be some ice fisherman off shore that could have heard and seen what happened. Any word from any of them?
 

swiftm

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Amazing Jeff that your camera was placed just right to see it happen and get notification in time to save your place. Hope all the follow up and repairs go smoothly for you.
 

Jack M

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Jeff ,was that your place on the local news ,or was that some one else ? They had something about a snowmobile running in to a home
 

Pbakk

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Wow - that is amazing. I can see that being part of a snowmobile safety class. Put it in the chapter "This is what happens when you are stupid." Kid is lucky to walk away from it. Your security company / video equipment co. might want to pay you to use that video as it just saved a cabin, and possibly a life!
 

Vikingstaff

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Wow, what a story! Glad to see that you didn't lose your cottage and that the driver wasn't killed because it appears both could have happened. I can't imagine watching that unfold in front of you (kind of) in real time. On a positive note, maybe this is your opportunity to transform your deck design and perhaps do away with the upkeep (e.g. Trexx)??
I brought up that specific Trexx related possiblity. Wife looked at me like, pay the difference to upgrade out of pocket...don’t think so buddy. :D

I remain undeterred still. Going to want to check out all my options.
 

Vikingstaff

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Great video (love the music)! So, have you been interviewed by the Houghton Lake Resorter?

Too funny you ask. They called and interviewed me over the phone about an hour ago.
 

Vikingstaff

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I noticed in the video there appears to be some ice fisherman off shore that could have heard and seen what happened. Any word from any of them?
Nope, but seems like everything is falling into place between accident scene and them getting the rider on the spot before sending him off to the hospital.
 

Vikingstaff

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Jeff ,was that your place on the local news ,or was that some one else ? They had something about a snowmobile running in to a home
Might have been. I didn’t see it as I’m back down state. Which news station? I’ll see what I can pull up online.
 

Vikingstaff

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You can use whatever contractor you want so make sure you find one you are comfortable with. Don’t let them push one that you are iffy on.
Thanks for the advice. Their insurance adjuster was reallly good at stressing this with me too, so that gave me a bit of confidence that they are looking to rectify the situation in good faith.

When we bought the place in 2016 we contracted with a builder to redo/remodel a portion of the cottage. We really liked working with them, very trustworthy and dependable, and they did good work.

I looked them up and right on their website, they list themselves as certified fire, water, diseaster restoration, repair and remodel. Talked with them earlier today. They went over their yearly credentialing and said it is a focused part of their business in additional to general construction and remodeling. They are going to look it all over and get back with me by early next week, and put together a proposal.

My fingers are crossed. After being so happy with them before, I see no reason why I would go with anyone else on this job.
 

lakeliving

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Insurance jobs are guaranteed money so they will most likely take care of you again. They typically don’t get paid until you sign a certificate of completion so that is your insurance policy they will finish the job to your satisfaction.
 
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