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December 01, 2011 9:00 am

Insurance company still investigating home explosion

Written by CJ Baker

Five months later, the owners of a Willwood home destroyed by an explosion still are waiting to see whether their insurance claim will be paid and if a cause of the blast can be determined.

“It’s a sorry situation, but there’s nothing you can do,” homeowner Mark Imsand said Wednesday. “They (the insurance company) are in control of everything.”

Mark Imsand and his wife Jean owned a two-story house on Llama Drive until the night of June 26, when a massive explosion and subsequent fire obliterated it. It was a large enough blast to inflict lesser damage to a couple neighboring homes in the rural subdivision and was felt by some more than a mile away.

No one was in the residence at the time of the 10:30 p.m. explosion, as the Imsands had left that Sunday morning to help move their adult son to Florida from Powell.

Mark Imsand got the call while stopped for the night in Pueblo, Colo.

“My wife cried for the next 14 days and she still gets upset about it,” Imsand said. “She won’t go over there; she doesn’t want to see it.”

The rubble has yet to be cleaned up, though Imsand said he’s heard Allstate has awarded a contract for the job.

“It’s frustrating for everybody. The people over there in the neighborhood, they don’t want to look at that mess,” he said. For his part, Imsand and his wife want to get on with their lives. They’re currently living in a rented residence, with the rent paid by Allstate.

Imsand said he feels the insurance company is “dragging stuff out” on the claim, adding, “I don’t know whether they want to hang onto their money or what.”

He questioned what was taking so long, saying insurance investigators either find wrongdoing and put the person in jail, or find it was an accident and pay the claim.

“I know they haven’t found any evidence (of wrongdoing) because I’m not in jail,” and because there’s nothing to find, he said. 

Imsand said he’s heard the cause of the explosion likely was related to some kind of gas leak, and he thinks that must have been behind the explosion.

Imsand hasn’t heard when the investigation will be completed and said calls asking about the claim yield no information.

“The worst part about it is being in the dark on everything,” he said.

In an emailed statement, a regional Allstate spokeswoman, Ann Patel, said the company couldn’t specifically comment on the Imsands’ claim. However, she said the company recognizes filing a claim can be a stressful time and seeks to “make the process as smooth as possible.”

“Allstate is committed to helping our customers through the claims process and paying each claim according to the terms of policy,” Patel wrote. “Allstate cannot discuss individual claims out of respect to the customer’s privacy, but will work with Mr. Imsand to help him resolve his claim.”

On Tuesday, Powell Fire Chief Joey Darrah said the fire department is waiting for the insurance company’s report, but he’s skeptical a cause will ever be found.

“I would say there’s a good chance we’ll never be able to figure out (the cause), as completely as everything was eviscerated on that one,” Darrah said, adding, “It’s really hard to try to recreate a scene when that happens.”

He said the Powell Volunteer Fire Department worked with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on the investigation, which was wrapped up a couple weeks after the explosion.

“We all just determined that it (the cause) was going to be undetermined,” Darrah said. However, he said the insurance company hired an independent investigator who was going to do some testing on the gas line and other follow up. Imsand said he believed the company had finished testing.

Everything in the house was a complete loss, he said. The Imsands had brought a couple weeks’ worth of clothes with them for the Florida trip, though with the arrival of cold weather, they’ve had to buy some coats and things like that, Imsand said.

“We were just blessed that we had some money in the bank, or we’d be in a position where we’d be begging them (Allstate),” he said.

As it is, Imsand thinks the claim will be paid sooner or later. He hopes it’s sooner.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link December 02, 2011 2:35 pm posted by Robert Helms

    Beware of what insurance company you buy your policy from. Allstate obviously is not the one you want.

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