"Protect yourself:" Greenfield fire officials highlight the importance of renters insurance

GREENFIELD -- The Greenfield Fire Department says in recent weeks, a few fires have had one thing in common -- something many people living in apartments don't have.

"A passerby saw the flames coming out of the roof," said Carla Ullerich, neighbor.

Boards cover the windows of an upper apartment near 43rd and Cold Spring.

"I did not have any damage in my apartment. I was very fortunate," said Ullerich.

Carla Ullerich lives downstairs. She says the man who lived in the upper unit is now without a home and without belongings.

"He had spoken with the Red Cross and was getting help from the Red Cross," said Ullerich.

Carla Ullerich

The Red Cross estimates that man is now in the company of 80-90% of the apartment renters they meet after a fire. He did not have renters insurance.

"It's something that you don't want to be caught without," said Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn.

Greenfield's fire chief says from his experience renters can't afford to not be insured.

"Everyone's living in just such close proximity to each other. Even if it's not your fire, you could be affected if you live in the same apartment with adjoining hallways," said Chief Cohn.

Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn

The Red Cross warns their aid can only go so far. Greenfield Fire Department recommends renters at least look into it.

"From what we've been told it's really reasonable, sounds like around $100 a year," said Cohn.

Neighbor Tyreece Rowell doesn't have insurance. But having seen the devastation of the fire he is thinking about it.

"Around the circles I hang around that's not necessarily something people usually discuss," said Rowell.

Ullerich says this was a close call.

"I do have renters insurance. You have to protect yourself and you also have to protect yourself from other people," said Ullerich.

A representative for State Farm says landlords tend to have insurance, but that typically only covers the building itself -- not personal belongings.

Here are some useful links if you're interested in renters insurance:

State Farm