Homeowners sue Ace Alarms

Company claims couple declined fire monitoring service
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Wednesday, October 1, 2003

ANTIOCH, Tenn. - Ace Alarms Inc. faces a lawsuit in conjunction with a fire that destroyed a customer’s home last Christmas Eve.

The lawsuit alleges that Ace failed to properly install and monitor a security system that included fire detection equipment at the customer’s home, according to Russell Morgan of Boult, Cummings, Connor and Berry, the attorney who is representing the couple, Charles and Kathleen Lico.

Both sides agree that Ace installed a system for the Licos and that the Licos paid for Ace to monitor that alarm. Where they differ, however, is on what type of alarm Ace was supposed to monitor.

The lawsuit, filed in August, states that “total destruction of the home and property could have been avoided” had Ace provided the fire detection the Licos claim they paid for. The Licos seek $1.2 million in damages from Ace.

Ace doesn’t dispute that its system failed to alert the couple to a fire at their home, said Thomas Lundborg, president of Ace Alarms. What Ace does dispute is whether the Licos had requested fire detection as part of the system Ace installed at their home in 1991. Ace upgraded the system in 1999.

Lundborg said he tried at the time to persuade the couple that fire detection would be as valuable, if not more so, than a burglar alarm, to no avail.

Morgan said he has not received any information from Ace that would support the company’s claim that the Licos passed on fire alarm monitoring. He also said that until July of this year, Ace continued to bill the Licos for monitoring services, indicating that the company still had no idea the house was destroyed by fire.

According to Lundborg, Ace only continued to bill the Licos because the couple never notified the company that their home had been destroyed. Lundborg said he could not account for why the system the company installed did not detect that the home had been destroyed between December and June.

The Licos have also filed a lawsuit against their insurance carrier, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., in which they seek $400,000.