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Thursday, September 1, 2011
Oklahoma City– Insurance Commissioner John Doak and a Consumer Assistance team from the Oklahoma Insurance Department joined state Rep. Mike Shelton (D-97) Thursday to witness firsthand the damage caused by a multi-day wildfire in northeast Oklahoma City.
The fire is one of dozens to strike across the state during this hot, dry Oklahoma summer. Though the scene in northeast Oklahoma City is not yet completely secure and damage estimates are constantly changing, the latest tally suggests that the blaze there has consumed dozens of residences, at least one business and one church. Damage estimates already are ranging into the millions of dollars.
“The losses suffered by these homeowners are just devastating,” Commissioner Doak said after witnessing burned-out houses surrounded by charred vehicles, outbuildings and trees. “Many of them will be insured for their loss, but those who are uninsured will have to start over on their own. For those who have insurance, I want them to know that the Oklahoma Insurance Department will be there for them throughout the claims and rebuilding process.”
Commissioner Doak stressed that Oklahomans who have insurance questions, who need help filing or resolving their insurance claim, or who suspect fraudulent activity by suspicious contractors who often descend on stricken areas after catastrophe should contact the OID Consumer Assistance team toll-free at (800) 522-0071 or online at oid.ok.gov. The Oklahoma Insurance Department also has launched a new section on its Web site for wildfire preparedness, at http://www.ok.gov/oid/Wildfire_Tips.html. The page includes advice on developing a home inventory to document insured losses before a catastrophe, resources for following the developments of wildfires in Oklahoma, and steps to take if your home is threatened or lost to wildfire.
Some 400 firefighters, many of them volunteers from departments across Oklahoma, have responded in mutual aid to the northeast Oklahoma City blaze, as they have to others around the state. Commissioner Doak thanked a number of them personally as they rested in the shade and rehydrated from fighting fire in 100-degree late-summer heat. Some of the firefighters the commissioner met arrived from up to 200 miles away, representing departments from Wagoner County and such communities as Oak Grove, Quapaw, Cowskin, Monkey Island and Miami.
“It’s remarkable that these firefighters respond not only in their own communities, but to render mutual aid across the state,” Doak said. “That’s the spirit of Oklahoma. When Oklahomans hear their neighbors are in trouble, they show up to help, even if those ‘neighbors’ might be hundreds of miles away.”
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About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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