Insurance Department to Offer Coordinated Response to Fire and Explosion in West, Texas

AUSTIN – April 19, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) –– The April 17 fire and explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas resulted in fatalities, serious bodily injuries, and widespread property damage. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), working in conjunction with other agencies, will be providing assistance through the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO), its Consumer Protection resources, and the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) to assist those affected by the incident. “We extend our condolences to the families of those killed or injured in the explosion,” said Commissioner of Insurance Eleanor Kitzman and Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation Rod Bordelon, in a joint statement. “TDI and DWC are utilizing the full resources of the agency to assist those affected by this terrible event.”

SFMO is the lead fire investigation agency for Texas, and will be partnering with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to conduct a joint investigation of the entire incident. SFMO staff are on-site and the investigation is underway.

Consumer Assistance

For people who have suffered property damage, consumer assistance is available from TDI. If your property was damaged in the explosion, TDI recommends that you contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to begin the claims process. However, you should not return to your home until local officials have announced that it is safe to do so.

If you have insurance questions, need information, have a complaint, or can’t locate your agent or company, call the toll-free TDI Consumer Help Line: 1-800-252-3439. Consumer Help Line hours have been extended: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.

TDI staff will also be on-site beginning Friday to provide direct assistance regarding insurance questions.

Workers’ Compensation Questions

TDI’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is providing a hotline and resource links regarding benefits and workers’ compensation claim information for fire fighters, City of West employees, and workers’ compensation system participants:

Division of Workers’ Compensation www.tdi.texas.gov/wc/indexwc.html
State Firemen’s & Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas www.sffma.org
Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool www.tmlirp.org

For workers’ compensation-related questions, contact the DWC Hotline at 1-800-372-7713 or 512-804-4102 in Austin.

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