SECURA helps couple rebuild historic home after fire

The Thompson House - History Restored

Tom Thompson truly appreciates the work of an artisan — someone whose passion and meticulousness elevates his labor into an art form. So when it came to buying a house, he and his wife, Deb, selected a historic Queen Anne Victorian. Every corner of the house showcased the commitment of its builders to exceptional work.

Following a house fire, the couple observed a similar passion and attention to detail could elevate insurance agents and the SECURA Claims team to the level of artisan.


A historic house becomes a home

Between 1893 and 1895 accomplished craftsmen constructed the 3,342-square-foot house that would become a Winona, Minn. landmark. The house was adorned in exquisite woodwork and decorative elements.

In 1989, Tom and Deb saw that same beauty and became enamored with the possibilities the house offered. They lovingly remodeled it through the years, pouring over the details to return the structure to its former elegance. Along the way, the couple's affinity for the structure grew and this house became something more — a home.

As the project list dwindled, the exterior was the last area of attention and a painting crew started prepping it for a new coat in July 2011.





Tragedy strikes

A painter's heat gun, used for removing paint, radically changed the course of the project after it ignited a fire in the eaves. The fire quickly spread into the house's attic. Tom was at work when a co-worker notified him that fire trucks were in front of his house and he should probably check it out.

"By the time I got there, flames were shooting out of the third floor," he said.

As disturbing as the sight was, more than just fire damage was mounting as firefighters battled the flames. In excess of 20,000 gallons of water was cascading through the interior of the house. While the structure was saved, most of the interior was lost or damaged.


SECURA arrives

Insurance can be a purchase one doesn't think about until it's needed. When that time came for Tom, he learned that Deb had worked with true insurance artisans at the Winona Agency and SECURA to make sure their property was well protected.

"We had a wonderful policy...I didn't have a worry about whether we'd be taken care of," Tom said.

As someone well acquainted with the remodeling process, Tom questioned whether he was ready to embark on the journey again. Particularly, since this was a major undertaking that would start by stripping the interior down to studs. But he had confidence in SECURA's Claims team. Their commitment enabled Tom to hire the craftsmen required to restore the home to its former glory.

"From day one we had no problems. It was very, very easy," Tom said, adding that there was constant communication throughout the whole process. "On a scale of one to 10, SECURA is a 10. There's class at the top and all the way through the company."



Home again

Just weeks shy of a year since the fire, Tom and Deb are back in their house, and Tom is quick to declare it already feels like home again. He credits SECURA for seeing the importance of doing things the right way — from finding an exact replica of the kitchen's tin ceiling, to saving and refinishing the original woodwork wherever possible.

"The character is there and that's because of the artisans we were able to hire," Tom said. "We set out to make it better than before and we did that. We're very thankful."