Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Surprise home burns; Rural Metro bills owner almost $20k
Fox 10 News ^ | 11/.05/2013 | Jill Monier

Posted on 11/07/2013 9:34:16 AM PST by Responsibility2nd

Edited on 11/07/2013 9:36:43 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]

PHOENIX - A man's house burned to the ground, but that wasn't his only shock -- because two weeks later, he received a bill for almost $20,000 from the private fire department that tried to fight it.

One state lawmaker says fire coverage in rural areas of Arizona is a mess and he says there needs to be oversight.


(Excerpt) Read more at myfoxphoenix.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: fireprotection; poenix; surprise
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-53 next last
There have been similar stories Freeped before when this stort of thing happens. I recall some events in Tenneesee where the fire department shows up and WATCHES your house burn down.

Why?

Because the homeowner made the call to NOT join and purchase the $500 service plan that guarantees they will fight the fire.

But in this case - even though there wsas no contract or agreement to fight the fire - Rural Metro did so.

Should they have fought the fire? Were they correct in billing the homeowners? Should they get paid? Will they get paid?

Your thoughts....

1 posted on 11/07/2013 9:34:16 AM PST by Responsibility2nd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

Now we need Obamafire, for those people to dumb to buy their own coverage.


2 posted on 11/07/2013 9:39:52 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

The fee was only $75.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57338526/firefighters-watch-home-burn-owners-didnt-pay/


3 posted on 11/07/2013 9:40:17 AM PST by Rusty0604
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

Why is the charge $20k, particularly if his home burned down? Sounds like poor performance. Are they trying to balance their balance sheet from socking it to this one guy?


4 posted on 11/07/2013 9:43:16 AM PST by AlmaKing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

I was under the impression that the fire departments were funded by state and local taxes. Its ludicrous to have to pay a $20K bill for firefighting services if their services are funded by by taxes. If there were no frire protection services in his particlar part of the woods and a private company provided these “services” I could maybe see how this happened but that fee is ridiculous. Its really blackmail of the worst sort. It would be like a physician turning to you and saying my fee for the heart transplant just went from 50K to 200k while asking you what you want to do in the middle of a heart attack. It just ain’t right. And why does EVERTHING have to be about money these day? I don’t think common sense is so common anymore.


5 posted on 11/07/2013 9:46:19 AM PST by jsanders2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AlmaKing
You really put an enormous amount of thought and wisdom into your post. Right?/p>
6 posted on 11/07/2013 9:47:30 AM PST by fatboy (This protestant will have no part in the ecumenical movement)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: jsanders2001

I was under the impression that the fire departments were funded by state and local taxes. Its ludicrous to have to pay a $20K bill for firefighting services if their services are funded by by taxes. If there were no fire protection services in his particlar part of the woods and a private company provided these “services” I could maybe see how this happened but that fee is ridiculous. Its really blackmail of the worst sort. It would be like a physician turning to you and saying my fee for the heart transplant just went from 50K to 200K while asking you what you want to do in the middle of a heart attack. It just ain’t right. And why does EVERTHING have to be about money these day? I don’t think common


7 posted on 11/07/2013 9:47:44 AM PST by jsanders2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Responsibility2nd

Yea, I’d like to see the itemized cost on that $20k.

Private firefighters are under no obligation to show up and doing so hurts their ability to preimptively collect fees.

If they weren’t asked to fight the fire, then to me they are just asking for a voluntary payment. If they were free not to fight the fire, then the home owner should be free not to pay them.


9 posted on 11/07/2013 9:48:53 AM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum
Now we need Obamafire, for those people to dumb to buy their own coverage.

Will that cover pre-existing fires?

10 posted on 11/07/2013 9:50:21 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

This is one of the best observations I’ve seen on what went down....

Since when can a 3rd party obligate me for an expense?

Lets break this down.

Surprise FD responds (Paid for by taxes or some other means but no bill to homeowner)

Surprise FD may have called, or Rural Metro may have been listening to the scanner and invokes THEIR “mutual aid” agreement and Rural Metro shows up

Rural Metro does essentially the post fire monitoring and cleanup and sends home owner bill

See the disconnect here? The homeowner was not consulted or notified or asked for approval for the charge. So how can the Surprise FD obligate the homeowner to pay for a service that he did not request.

This doesn’t appear to be a case of the only/nearest fire protection is a pay/subscription service. But it does appear that there is something shady going on since the Rural Metro FD won’t/cant provide a copy of this mutual aid agreement, instead characterizing it as a gentleman’s “handshake agreement.

Personally I’d dare the Rural Metro company to sue me to collect, and then during discovery and depositions get to the bottom of these gentleman’s agreements.

Methinks that some of what Rural Metro collects finds it way back to the FD that “called them in”

http://www.fark.com/comments/8007058/Firefighters-to-homeowner-Were-really-sorry-your-house-burned-down-sir-oh-by-way-heres-our-bill-for-$20000?startid=87481653


11 posted on 11/07/2013 9:50:46 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Izzy Dunne

But of course!


12 posted on 11/07/2013 9:52:00 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

In as much as a mechanic, fixing the problems in your auto without authorization....they did it for free.


13 posted on 11/07/2013 9:54:14 AM PST by i_robot73 (Give me one example and I will show where gov't is the root of the problem(s).)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd
Should they have fought the fire?

Opinion = yes

Were they correct in billing the homeowners?

Opinion = yes

Should they get paid?

Opinion = yes

Will they get paid?

Probably not.

14 posted on 11/07/2013 9:55:39 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jsanders2001

I know that you may find this hard to believe but in life you get what you pay for. The homeowner didn’t want to pay for fire protection. One of hard lessons of life. But on the bright side, most likely the fire company will accept whatever payment his homeowners insurance company will pay.

By the way, Question: what is stopping that particular homeowner from forming his own fire company to protect his neck of the woods?
Answer: nothing.


15 posted on 11/07/2013 10:00:21 AM PST by fatboy (This protestant will have no part in the ecumenical movement)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: from occupied ga
Should they have fought the fire?

Opinion = yes

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you wreck your car and you didn't have insurance, would you expect your body shop to repair it for free? Then why do you expect the FD to fight the fire for free?

16 posted on 11/07/2013 10:03:15 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: jsanders2001

Your analogy has problems. Having been a member of a rural association (paying member to have rural coverage from a volunteer fire department). It’s more like you live in a flood plain, you choose not to pay for flood insurance then when you get flooded, you expect the company to pay you for your losses anyway.

It only costs us $20 a year (at the time, several years ago), if you did not pay for the rural fire department - they would save people and animals but would not save the house. The annual cost of $20 is far, far less than people pay for government run fire departments. Ours were volunteers, they did not get paid, they would have pancake breakfasts and such to help pay for the upkeep on the equipment. BUT, you don’t want to pay your $20 and still expect them to save your house? Doesn’t work that way - move to the city with much higher taxes and you get that “free” coverage from the fire department.


17 posted on 11/07/2013 10:06:53 AM PST by ozarkgirl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd
Your reading comprehension grade = F

IF you had bothered to read my entire post you would have seen that I stated that they SHOULD have gotten paid for it, but don't let the facts stand in your way of disagreeing with something you have no knowledge of.

18 posted on 11/07/2013 10:12:10 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

In response, he should sue the fire department for trespass and vandalism by water.


19 posted on 11/07/2013 10:15:44 AM PST by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fatboy
... The homeowner didn’t want to pay for fire protection...

You don't know what you are talking about. Try reading the article. Here's part of it:
"Residents living in the area pay a fire district assistance tax. The name alone implies it goes towards fire service in their area, but it doesn't. It's a county-wide tax to help fund volunteer fire districts.

The people in Purcell's neighborhood have no fire coverage, but they say they didn't know that until after Purcell's house fire."

The neighbors stated that AFTER THE FIRE, they get a statement or bill from Rural Metro informing them that they had no fire coverage, and encouraging them to enroll.

And this, also from the article:
"Admittedly, Rural Metro didn't market the subscription to Purcell's area until recently, because their closest fire station is 20 miles away."

20 posted on 11/07/2013 10:20:32 AM PST by FreedomOfExpression
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

When I lived in the PHX area 25 years ago, a long-time resident wag told me the local alternate name for Rural-Metro was the “Rural-Metro Parking Lot Development Co.” R-M covered suburban parts of the PHX metro area, the largest/most well-known is Scottsdale.


21 posted on 11/07/2013 10:33:59 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FreedomOfExpression

Oh but I do know what I’m talking about. And I did read the article. And the article states “The people in Purcell’s neighborhood have no fire coverage”. Notice the Key Words....no.fire.coverage.

There is a cost for being dumb. For some it’s not a lot of money but for this particular homeowner the cost of being dumb is $20K


22 posted on 11/07/2013 10:36:31 AM PST by fatboy (This protestant will have no part in the ecumenical movement)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd
I'd be writing City Hall and demanding a rebate on my property taxes to the tune of $20,000. Once received, I would then pay the FD's bill.

And yes, you can fight city hall and win. I have done it.

23 posted on 11/07/2013 10:56:32 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Destroy patriotism & government will fall. Tamper with love of country & you'll have revolution)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Rusty0604

Two different instances. The one you reference was in Tennessee. This thread is about a story from Arizona.


24 posted on 11/07/2013 10:58:54 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Destroy patriotism & government will fall. Tamper with love of country & you'll have revolution)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Rusty0604

Oops. Read the article but not the contents of post #1. My bad.


25 posted on 11/07/2013 11:00:42 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Destroy patriotism & government will fall. Tamper with love of country & you'll have revolution)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Bloody Sam Roberts

You might as well write City Hall and demand a rebate on your flat screen HDTV you just bought as well.

The point is - the homeowner paid NO taxes for complete fire protection. Per the article - he THOUGHT he did, but he didn’t. Oh well, too bad.


26 posted on 11/07/2013 11:05:59 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: jsanders2001

“I was under the impression that the fire departments were funded by state and local taxes.”

Unfortunately, no. Many backwards liberal areas are pay-for-services. Homeowners are sent mailing for this private firefighting as local government do not provide services. Any normal person would see a fire station down the street and assume firefighting is a community paid service. Some localities even grant exclusive rights to these private fire companies.


27 posted on 11/07/2013 11:16:43 AM PST by CodeToad (Irony: Progressives Aren't!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

If they home owner requested services, he’s liable for the bill.. if however they provided service without being asked, they can’t bill them for it... at least that’s the general rule of thumb when you get something you didn’t order.


28 posted on 11/07/2013 11:18:56 AM PST by HamiltonJay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bloody Sam Roberts

Happens to the best of us.


29 posted on 11/07/2013 11:21:10 AM PST by Rusty0604
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd
I recall some events in Tenneesee where the fire department shows up and WATCHES your house burn down.

Why?

Because the homeowner made the call to NOT join and purchase the $500 service plan that guarantees they will fight the fire.

Was there an individual mandate to purchase fire-fighting insurance?

30 posted on 11/07/2013 11:24:42 AM PST by cynwoody
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: E. Pluribus Unum

Shhh... next will be OmbamaLife, ObamaAuto, ObamamFlood...


31 posted on 11/07/2013 11:26:44 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd; All

Anyone who pays taxes, especially property taxes, has already paid for fire services...whether or not the services have been privatized or not

Privatization of Government Services is just Business Socialism...you end up paying more for the government than you were before...because now you have to pay for the profits of the private company handling the service

Fact is that Public/Private Partnerships....and Privatization...is just another form of Socialism

The homeowner should sue the company, and the local government....he has already paid for the service thru taxes


32 posted on 11/07/2013 11:53:21 AM PST by SeminoleCounty (2014: RINO Hunting Season)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CodeToad

It begs the question - if the privatized fire departments are in charge of fire control then why are city officials such as the fire marshal in charge of investigating arsons tha occur at the same location? (I already know the answer; just food for thought). I’m surprised that Zobma would allow s privatized fire department to exist.


33 posted on 11/07/2013 11:55:22 AM PST by jsanders2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: from occupied ga

> Should they have fought the fire?
Opinion = yes

Were they correct in billing the homeowners?

Opinion = yes

Should they get paid?

Opinion = yes

Will they get paid?

Probably not.

You forgot one important question. Should the amount for the services be $20K? I’d really like to see a breakdown of those charges to see how much each breath from those firefighter masks cost while they were “fighting” the fire.../s


34 posted on 11/07/2013 12:00:31 PM PST by jsanders2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: ozarkgirl

I have absolutely no problem paying for a service as long as I know what the costs are up front but to be hit by a $20K bill is a little much for guys suiting up and spraying some oversized waterhoses (i know it involves more than that; i’ve been through LEO training)


35 posted on 11/07/2013 12:03:51 PM PST by jsanders2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

If the homeowner did not agree to pay to have them fight the fire he is not responsible for the bill. Usually these articles go the other way where we are supposed to be up in arms when a fire department refuses to fight a fire for someone who hasn’t paid. If the owner didn’t pay the yearly fee, and didn’t agree to pay them to fight the fire, he obviously did not want their services.


36 posted on 11/07/2013 12:13:55 PM PST by RightOnTheBorder
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CodeToad
Unfortunately, no. Many backwards liberal areas are pay-for-services.

Careful now. You'll upset the libertarians here with remarks like that. If you take the libs seriously, then normal services like roads and fire protection will be gone.

37 posted on 11/07/2013 12:21:57 PM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Izzy Dunne

You got it.


38 posted on 11/07/2013 12:28:51 PM PST by Wicket (1 Peter 3:15 , Romans 5:5-8)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: SeminoleCounty
You are incorrect. As has been stated many times before, the fire department was volunteer, funded by the local homeowners through a special tax and contract. Those types of fire departments only exist in rural areas where there would otherwise be no fire protection (We have several in Oregon). But you are right, we should always sue someone when we screw up. It makes prices so much more reasonable for those who care to make well thought out decisions, and helps companies to sell their products profitably so they can continue to provide them
39 posted on 11/07/2013 12:35:03 PM PST by Wicket (1 Peter 3:15 , Romans 5:5-8)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: fatboy

Explain, fatboy, instead of being a smartass.


40 posted on 11/07/2013 12:54:05 PM PST by AlmaKing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: fatboy

Give ma an accounting that creates a $20k bill.


41 posted on 11/07/2013 12:56:21 PM PST by AlmaKing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: AlmaKing

Can we find out if the company has an hourly rate, call out fee or man hour charge?


42 posted on 11/07/2013 1:00:24 PM PST by Alaska Wolf (I)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: bigbob

HAHA, now I like that, right there!


43 posted on 11/07/2013 1:05:22 PM PST by SgtHooper (If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: HamiltonJay

They probably can if the homeowner failed to order them to stop—he in essence adopted the contract.


44 posted on 11/07/2013 1:08:48 PM PST by SgtHooper (If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Alaska Wolf

That’s what I was after before another Freeper accused me of being stupid.

From a business perspective:

10 men total at maybe 4 hours, 40 man-hours at maybe $30/hour = $1200.

2 vehicles at $250/hour times 8 total hours = $4000.

$5200.

Maybe I’m just way off base on the vehicle cost.

Or they sent out more resources than I’d opine is necessary.


45 posted on 11/07/2013 1:20:26 PM PST by AlmaKing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Responsibility2nd

” You’ll upset the libertarians here with remarks like that.”

A TRUE Libertarian would argue that taxes are paid in many ways and for the government to sanction private companies to provide public services at additional cost is taxation without representation.


46 posted on 11/07/2013 1:26:45 PM PST by CodeToad (When ignorance rules a person's decision they are resorting to superstition.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: AlmaKing
Or they sent out more resources than I’d opine is necessary.

I don't know if there is a national protocol, but I know there are local requirements for equipment for accidents, rescue and fire calls.

47 posted on 11/07/2013 1:28:00 PM PST by Alaska Wolf (I)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: RightOnTheBorder

True story.

We were given a house to train in, set on fire and put out. I’s called an acquired structure. Much more realistic to put out a training fire in an acquired structure than in a “burn building”. However, the EPA sent us letters stating that if we did not stop burning this building we would be fined.

So if Mr. Stupid homeowner wants to sue the fire co for putting out his house without his permission, I expect the EPA will make his $20K bill (which he probably will not pay anyway) look like chump change. Would it not at that point also look like an intentional fire? I think it’s called arson.


48 posted on 11/07/2013 1:53:02 PM PST by fatboy (This protestant will have no part in the ecumenical movement)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: jsanders2001
Should the amount for the services be $20K?

That question wasn't asked, but it is important. I just dealt with a general contractor, and he said his margin was 35% Since it is reasonable to assume that they would be in the same general business (except putting out fires rather than rebuilding) this seems a reasonable margin to me. If you add yo their expenses then multiply by 1.35 would you come up with $20k? I suspect you would come up with something less than $20k

49 posted on 11/08/2013 3:35:03 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: fatboy
In your original post #15, you said: "The homeowner didn't want to pay for fire protection".

Your reply in post #22 has done nothing to refute my contention that he thought he had insurance, instead of your original contention that he intentionally did not buy the insurance because he didn't want to pay for the service.

50 posted on 11/10/2013 8:17:28 AM PST by FreedomOfExpression
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-53 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson