Clearwater rallies behind ‘gator lady’ after insurance claim for damages denied

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – The community is rallying behind a Clearwater woman whose home suffered damage from an alligator break-in.

Back in May, 77-year-old Mary Wischhussen woke up in the middle of the night to find a massive, aggressive gator smashed through a large glass window in her Eagles Landing condo. The gator left holes and dents in the walls, as well as shattered glass furniture.

Wischhusen called 911, and Clearwater Police along with FWC was dispatched to get the gator out.

Wischhusen later filed a claim under her homeowners’ insurance to pay for the exterior and structural damages, only to have the claim denied a month later.

“Because it was a gator that broke it, and they don’t cover gators,” Wischhusen explained to 8 On Your Side. “If it was wind, they would have fixed it. If it was anything but a gator, they would have fixed it.

Wischhusen’s policy provider, Florida Peninsula, told 8 On Your Side that most structural and exterior damage claims are typically handled by the condo association’s policy. 8 On Your Side is still awaiting comment from Eagles Landing.

Since then, Wischhusen says a number of local contractors have reached out to her, willing to come give her an estimate for the damage and see how they could make the repairs as affordable as possible.

Brad Allen, one of the Clearwater officers dispatched to Wischhusen’s home the morning the gator broke in, heard the news about her insurance troubles and has created a GoFundMe to help pay for the damages her insurance won’t cover.

“I just wanted to do something to help her out, and I thought setting up a GoFundMe would probably be the best and easiest way,” Allen said. “Most of us has been on gator calls before, but never a call of that size, and we’ve never been on a gator call where it actually broke into the house.”

Allen hopes to raise enough to help Wischhusen replace the large broken window and frame, repair the drywall and even perhaps replace some of the shattered furniture.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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