Friday, June 20, 2003
Jury: Man set house on fire
By The Hub
KEARNEY - A rural Kearney man has been ordered to pay more
than $34,000 for insurance fraud after a Buffalo County jury
determined he intentionally set fire to his rural Kearney home in
May, Buffalo County District Judge John Icenogle ordered Douglas
Harrington to pay $34,341 to Farmers Union Cooperative Insurance
Co. of Nebraska for what the company was required to pay his
mortgage company after a fire destroyed his home.
12:12 A.M. Oct. 1, 1997, the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department
responded to a structure fire at Harrington's home at 10750 Grove
Road, northwest of Kearney and Highways 10 and 40. Fire
department records say the fire originated in the basement of the
two-story farmhouse. It was a total loss with $70,000 damage.
HARRINGTON was not living at the home at the time of the fire,
records say, but was near the location when the fire started.
records show the jury determined the fire was caused by
Harrington, that he made false insurance coverage claims.
Harrington's attorney, Siegfried Brauer of Kearney, has filed a
motion for a new trial for several reasons including: that the
verdict wasn't supported by sufficient evidence; that Icenogle
didn't provide the jury with verdict forms agreed to during a jury
instruction conference; and those instructions weren't provided to
counsel before sending them on to the jury.
1998, Harrington filed a lawsuit against the insurance company
saying it failed to comply with the terms of his homeowners policy
by denying him coverage. Farmers Union Insurance previously had
denied Harrington's claim because it believed the fire was
records say Harrington was within a "minute or so" of being
uninsured because the fire occurred within minutes of his
insurance policy expiring.
Harrington had been advised the policy was being canceled, records
say, and although he had inquired about other insurance, at the
time of the fire a new policy hadn't been obtained.
scene was investigated by the State Fire Marshall's office and
determined to be suspicious. Farmers Union Insurance also hired an
independent fire investigator who said the fire had been
intentionally set, records said.
York fire investigator hired by Harrington said the fire was an