Oak Creek man wants city to compensate him for grass fire burning his land
WTMJ News Team
Shelley Walcott reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
OAK CREEK- A man in Oak Creek has filed a claim against the city after a firework sparked a grass fire that took out a chunk of his land during an Independence Day fireworks show.
The landowner wants city hall to pay him $1,150 for the damage to his property.
City officials denied Verhalen's claim, and told him to file a claim with the fireworks company instead.
Some in Oak Creek have asked if the city would have cut a check for anyone else. Mark Verhalen ran unsuccessfully for mayor four times and has been a vocal critic of city policies.
Verhalen says he understands the city is following protocol, but he's anxious to get compensation for his land.
City officials told TODAY'S TMJ4 the fireworks company's insurance will cover Verhalen's loss and that payment could come before the end of the week.
About two acres of his land were burned off to the ground -- taking out an entire section of wheat. It's a crop Mark Verhalen relies on for income.
"Just by bad luck I guess the fireworks landed in the portion of the field that wasn't harvested," said Verhalen.
The damage on Verhalen's land is significant, reports TODAY'S TMJ4's Shelley Walcott.
If the fire went just 20 more feet and it would have reached his tree line -- and possibly the homes behind the tree line.