FORT WORTH, Texas - After a train derailment sent three rail cars plunging into the Fort Worth offices of Comfort Experts Inc., the company's workers pulled together to relocate its central operations to its Weatherford facility less than 30 miles away and service calls were being answered just hours after the mishap occurred at 7:20 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, 2004.

"Our first concern is for the safety of our employees," said Comfort Experts CEO Brett Hobson. "We thank God that no one was in the building at the time of impact. After that, our focus shifted to making sure our customers didn't experience any inconvenience as a result of this incident. We're making every effort to make the transition as seamless as possible."

Comfort Experts executives worked alongside staff members, laboring around the clock to get the company's temporary offices set up, organized, and ready to open for business on Monday morning.

"We have spent a small fortune just making sure we were able to continue with business," Hobson said. "From the time the train hit our building on Friday to Monday morning, we racked up a minimum of 1,000 man-hours."

Although operations at Comfort Experts don't officially begin until 8 a.m., a number of the air conditioning and heating company's employees were en route to the office when the derailment occurred.

Four were just minutes away.

"We feel very fortunate that this didn't happen 10 minutes later," Hobson said. "It would have been tragic. Buildings can be replaced. Lives can't. To us, this has been just an inconvenience, a huge, expensive inconvenience, sure, but still just an inconvenience."

Publication date: 02/02/2004