Skip to comments.Surprise home burns; Rural Metro bills owner almost $20k
Posted on 11/07/2013 9:34:16 AM PST by Responsibility2ndEdited 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 ...
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?
Now we need Obamafire, for those people to dumb to buy their own coverage.
The fee was only $75.
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?
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.
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 aint right. And why does EVERTHING have to be about money these day? I dont think common
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.
Will that cover pre-existing fires?
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”
But of course!
In as much as a mechanic, fixing the problems in your auto without authorization....they did it for free.
Opinion = yes
Were they correct in billing the homeowners?
Opinion = yes
Should they get paid?
Opinion = yes
Will they get paid?
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?
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?
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.
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.
In response, he should sue the fire department for trespass and vandalism by water.
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."