|Updated: 8/07/2012 9:13 am
||Published: 8/06/2012 7:05 pm
As victims of the Creek County wildfires returned to survey the damage, those who had insurance on their homes were finding it much easier to begin rebuilding their lives.
Unfortunately, too many of those who lost their homes did not have insurance.
Agents from numerous insurance companies were posted up around Creek County helping people file claims, offering victims temporary housing and giving victims money to buy essential needs.
"The main thing is that everybody got out safety," Lavonda Garrett said. But the house is totally gone."
Garrett and her husband were out of town when the fire left their home and lives in ashes. Thankfully, they had homeowner's insurance.
"They were right on the ball," she said. "So we have a place to go, and they're already working on everything for us. So, thank God for that. They've taken a lot of stress off of us."
"Me getting out was very close," Karen Bradford, another fire victim, said. "The fire was right there all around me."
Unfortunately, Bradford did not have insurance on her home.
"I rented a trailer, and my landlord had no insurance and I couldn't afford it," she said. "And it's all gone. There's nothing left."
Bradford's 18-year-old daughter is staying with friends, while Bradford's employer and co-workers are doing all they can to help her out.
"Well, I'm a survivor," she said. "My life has always been an uphill struggle."
Bradford fought back tears as she looked at what used to be her home. Now it's a pile of ashes of what used to be all her belongings and a lifetime of memorable mementos.
But she's trying to stay positive.
"Get my breath and regroup, find me a place to live, and just start over," she said.
Garrett and Bradford are two women in one town who both lost everything, but are now in two very different places in their lives all because of insurance.
"At least we have an opportunity to start over," Garrett said. "Where a lot of people that don't have insurance, they don't have no idea what they're going to do (sic)."
"The sun came out," Bradford said. "The sky's no longer got smoke in it. Tomorrow's a new day."
Representatives with the Oklahoma Tax Department are also stationed across the area helping fire victims and making sure none are taken advantage of. They are also helping those who have insurance, but lost their policy information get claims started.
Also, several victims lost medications and other medical supplies in the fires, and representatives from the Oklahoma Tax Department have been able to help those victims replace those things much faster.