Chevron will open a help center in Richmond on Friday, to help residents who want to file claims related to Monday'srefinery blaze, where about 1,700 people have complained they suffered some sort of respiratory problems.
In a statement, Chevron said that officials have heard that some people are calling members of the community about making claims.
It is illegal for lawyers to cruise accident scenes looking for clients, which is why state bar regulators were at a news conference Thursday, warning about "ambulance chasers."
However, it is sometimes the case that when claims are settled with companies, the person filing the claim also has to sign an agreement not to sue. But Melissa Ritchie, a Chevron spokeswoman, said that is not the case here - even if people accept payment, they would still be allowed to file a lawsuit.
The fire broke out Monday at about 6:30 p.m., and burned shortly before midnight. The fire started in Unit 4, and started as a leak two hours earlier. Though many have complained of immediate respiratory problems, no one was admitted to any of the area's three major hospitals.
The claims process has been set up through Crawford and Company, and Chevron said in its statement that the company "intends to compensate our neighbors for medical and property expenses incurred as a result of the incident."
Adjusters will try to respond to all claims within three days. Chevron will strive to pay appropriate and reasonable claims, including out-of-pocket medical and property-damage expenses, the company said.
The help center will be at the Nevin Community Center, 598 Nevin Ave., Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Live operators are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those wishing to file a claim by phone. The number is 866-260-7881.
If you have already filed a claim by phone, Chevron said you do not need to visit the help center.