Barton Solvents Plant Explosion Evacuees Begin to Receive ReimbursementJul 31, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
Barton Solvents, the owner of the Valley Center, Kansas solvent plant that exploded on July 18, has begun issuing reimbursement checks to residents who evacuated the town following the blast. So, far the company has issued nearly 1500 checks, and plans to issue more in the coming days. Barton Solvents also announced plans to help business owners affected by the plant explosion with their losses.
The reimbursements were issued over a three day period last week. Valley Center residents who were forced to flee their homes in the wake of the plant explosion could be reimbursed in one of two ways. They could receive a per diem rate for each day they were out of their homes if they stayed with family or friends, or they could receive money for hotel rooms, meals and other expenses if they presented receipts for those items. Another reimbursement session will be held for residents who could not make last week’s meetings. Barton Solvents will not say how much money it distributed so far.
On Monday evening, business owners were invited by the Valley Center Chamber of Commerce to meet with representatives from Barton Solvents to discuss their losses. The company told the audience that adjusters would be visiting business owners who had claims. Company representatives asked for patience, as business loss claims take time to validate and process. The company urged owners to complete claims forms as soon as possible in order to expedite the process.
Meanwhile, cleanup at the Barton Solvents Plant was put on hold as investigation into the blast continues. The Kansas State Department of Health and Environment is testing soil samples for contamination, and fire investigators from several insurance companies are expected to arrive at the plant later this week to do their own investigations. The company said it will continue the cleanup once those investigators have finished their surveys.
Barton Solvent’s also announced plans to rebuild the Valley Center plant, and said that it will replace all of the facility’s storage tanks during the rebuilding. The current tanks were built in 1979, and are no longer up to code. And in an effort to regain some good will, Barton Solvents said that it would be purchasing fire fighting foam for the Valley Center Fire Department. The day of the explosion, it had taken the fire department hours to find enough foam to fight the ensuing fire. Barton Solvents said that the department could use the foam to fight any fire, and that the company would pay to replenish the supply as needed.
The Barton Solvents Plant explosion resulted in the evacuation of more than 200 people from Valley Center. During the fire, all of the plant’s 44 storage tanks burned along with 660,000 gallons of chemicals. The tanks held hydrocarbons, ketones, alcohol and other chemicals used in the paint and coatings industry.