ALLENDALE, Mich. — The Dalton family in Allendale is frustrated with Consumers Energy after being forced to live in a hotel for nearly two months.
Back in December, their home caught fire after an alleged drunk driver plowed right into it, right into the main room.
“My husband got a phone call from our neighbor telling us our house was on fire,” said Cathy Dalton. She and her husband Dewayne were both at work when they got that call. Their home on 92nd Avenue and Pierce Street was on fire.
“He missed the corner to turn and went into the side of our house, and that was right in where the living room is and that’s where our gas line was,” said Dalton.
Police arrested the 29-year-old down the road after he took off and charged him with OWI and High BAS along with hit and run.
Everything inside the Dalton home was damaged or destroyed, including all of their clothes.
“We have to demolish it and rebuild.”
The very next day after the fire, the family came to Staybridge Suites in Holland. It’s several miles from their property in Allendale but the only place they could go with their dogs Charlie and Laya. The two dogs made it out of the fire.
“They dropped a temporary mobile home on our lot on January 5," said Dalton. "It gives us an opportunity to be on our property with our dogs. We also have chickens, so my husband’s going back and forth every day taking care of them. And then we can just stay there until the new house is built."
But the temporary trailer was without electricity for weeks.
Cathy tells me she got a notification at the end of December from Consumers acknowledging the need for temporary electricity. But 50 days later, it still was not hooked up even though crews installed a power pole on January 11.
“Everything was all set and ready, but Consumers kept dragging their feet as far as, ‘Well, they have to design the wiring’,” said Dalton. "They have to just different things that kept prolonging it, and we would call and then somebody wouldn’t know anything. Then we’d contact the supervisor and they’re like, ‘Well no, you need to talk to this person.’ And it was like, 'Well they told me to call you.'"
The family got another delay on Martin Luther King Jr Day. Cathy says Wachovia, the company that dropped the trailer off, also kept trying Consumers since they had to be there to finish the process. The date then changed to March 8 at the latest.
“It’s hard. It’s very hard living in a hotel two dogs, and just the runaround is very stressful. We just need to get back to some kind of normalcy,” she said.
That’s when Cathy contacted the FOX 17 Problem Solvers.
RESPONSE FROM CONSUMERS
After FOX 17 contacted Consumers the electricity was hooked up the very next day.
The company apologized for the delay. A spokesperson says they did not get the request for new service until December 22 and didn’t get approval from the customer until January 10.
Then they had to design everything, which was finished on January 22. There was also a delay getting a road permit from Ottawa County due to a computer issue at Consumers.
The family is just hopeful that they and their dogs will finally get back home.
“Once they hook the electric up, then everything else can be completed, and then we can get in there,” said Dalton.
As for rebuilding the family’s new home, that should take about six to seven months.
State Farm Insurance, Cathy’s employer and insurance provider, is covering everything.