Fires and explosions can cause serious damage, not only to property, but to people anywhere near the vicinity. Even people who are not injured in a fire or explosion can be traumatized, either by what they may have seen or by the fear they experienced. What kind of compensation should they receive?
Pennsylvania Greene County residents are still recovering from an explosion at Chevron that occurred on Feb. 11. The explosion kicked off a fire that took four days to extinguish. In the meantime, it was emitting gases and fumes throughout the community.
There was one fatality and one worker injured from the fiery explosion, but one is too many. The rest of the community has had to endure fear, odors and fumes, and the loss of a neighbor. The fire is finally out, but it will not be soon forgotten.
One family has lost a loved one, and one worker may still be suffering from injuries. The heat can still be felt and the gases and odors are still circulating in the community. Although the cause of the explosion is not yet known, Chevron is trying to make amends -- of sorts.
The company is purchasing and disbursing gift certificates to the residents of the community from a local pizza shop. The gift certificates are for pizza and soft drinks. Along with the gift certificates, the residents are receiving a letter of apology. The letter states its appreciation for the citizens and ensures that it intends to take action to make sure they are a responsible business and member of the community.
Some citizens of Greene County don't appear to be too thrilled by Chevron's apology. Twitter comments have not been overwhelmingly positive. One citizen told CNN that he felt like the gift certificates were "a huge slap in the face." He expressed anger and says that Chevron has addressed nothing. Further, he claims he plans to move his family because they have other wells near his home.
Compensation can come in many ways when communities are affected like this one. The cause of the explosion will be a major player in defining responsible business practices or negligence on the part of Chevron. Whatever the outcome of the investigation, residents of this community may not feel safe in their own homes again.
Source: CNN U.S., "Some Pa. residents near blown Chevron gas well finding pizza gift hard to swallow" Allie Malloy and Lauren Morton, Feb. 19, 2014