Fire Spread Like Dominoes

On a hot summer day in summer 2020, Judith Cebula's neighbor's garage caught fire. The garages in her downtown Indianapolis neighborhood sit behind the homes on an alley, and the fire quickly spread to three neighboring garages, including Judith's.

"The garage across the alley contained cleaning rags for staining a deck that ignited from the heat. His garage was obliterated, and our garage and the other two were damaged," she explained.

Judith had seen signs in her neighborhood for work Michaelis had done for other homeowners, so she gave the company a call, along with a few other firms. She said Michaelis was the only firm that quickly got back with her.

"Richard came out to give us an estimate, the owner himself, and the process went quickly. They worked really well with our insurance adjuster and through that whole process," Judith recalls.

Michaelis ended up restoring all three garages that were damaged by the original fire, and Jay, Judith's project manager, coordinated all the work to happen at the same time. Judith's garage repair involved replacing the original wood siding on one side of the garage, replacing the roof and a gutter that had been damaged by firefighting equipment, replacing the garage door and mechanisms and repainting the garage.

"Because the home and garage are part of a historic district, we had to find siding that would match up with the original siding in terms of thickness, grain, style," Jay explained. "That was the biggest hurdle we faced. We have a great local vendor we work with, and we were able to find a match."

Thankfully, Judith says they didn't lose any personal property because of their insulated garage doors.

"Our family was truly grateful that it was not worse and there wasn't a severe loss of property and no human being was hurt," she says. "The feeling [as we watched the fire] was, 'Is our entire garage going to be destroyed?', and then once we realized it was okay, you're thinking 'What are the next steps?'" We've never experienced something like this, so working on a claim and finding a contractor can be daunting. We were grateful Michaelis had a lot of experience and was responsive to our desire to get the process moving as quickly as we could. The subcontractors were wonderful people who worked incredibly hard and quickly. They worked tirelessly to get the job done."

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