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(Yahoo)   Firefighters to homeowner: We're really sorry your house burned down sir, oh by the way here's our bill for $20,000   (news.yahoo.com ) divider line
    More: Asinine, Arizona Senate, Rural/Metro, unincorporated areas, fire departments, Rural Metro Fire Department  
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10616 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Nov 2013 at 7:20 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



180 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-11-07 12:42:30 AM  
Torch their station.
 
2013-11-07 12:49:34 AM  
What a freaking mess of a situation. My gut instinct was for him to STFU because he isn't paying taxes to support a fire department and wasn't complaining all those years of fire-free, low taxes. But then I kept reading and there was a vague reference to firefighting on his taxes, and the private company showed up after the city of Surprise responded.

The family's home insurance does not cover the charges.

That seems like a bad idea for someone in an area without a fire department. When I bought my house, I was asked on my homeowners insurance application the distance to the nearest responders - when he answered "There isn't one", you'd think the agent would have recommended some supplemental coverage. For all we know, they did and he declined it.
 
2013-11-07 12:52:27 AM  
Buy a yearly $500 subscription from Rural Metro for fire coverage, take the gamble of getting a bill if they have a house fire, or form their own fire district which could take months.

Less sympathy because of this, though without a written contract detailing their agreements with neighboring fire districts (and given the size of the bill) Metro may be SOL
 
2013-11-07 01:18:19 AM  
The primary responding department was Surprise, AZ FD who then called for mutual aid from Rural Metro FD to do the overhaul after the house is gone.
Rural Metro (the secondary responders) then charges $1,500 per hour per truck and $150 per hour per man.

As a secondary response called by the other department they should not be charging the homeowner. If the first department had charged, it could be different.

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent
 
2013-11-07 01:47:12 AM  
FTFA: Surprise firefighters arrived at the house within 13 minutes and it took Rural Metro 24 minutes to arrive after the call. Their the closest firehouse is 20 miles away, Assessing the situation, neighbor Brian Repp said, "They got here late and his house is totally gone. OK. Then they're going to charge him $20,000 and they let his house go.

As best I can tell from this farking trainwreck of a sentence, even if we assume the first responders were sitting in the truck waiting for an emergency call, they still managed to average 93 mph on the way to the scene.
 
2013-11-07 01:58:05 AM  

ArkAngel: Buy a yearly $500 subscription from Rural Metro for fire coverage, take the gamble of getting a bill if they have a house fire, or form their own fire district which could take months.

Less sympathy because of this, though without a written contract detailing their agreements with neighboring fire districts (and given the size of the bill) Metro may be SOL


I pay a little less than $400 a year for city fire service according to my tax breakdown... $500 seems reasonable for low density countryside.
 
2013-11-07 02:03:21 AM  
65 year tradition of showing up to someone's house uninvited and then sending a bill?
 
2013-11-07 02:04:34 AM  
FTFA: Arizona State Senator Chester Crandell admitted that fire coverage in Arizona's rural areas is a mess, "Having county islands that have no service in, in uh, fireboards that are just packing up and leaving, going bankrupt... It's certainly something that needs to be addressed."

How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?
 
2013-11-07 02:29:05 AM  

Dufus: As a secondary response called by the other department they should not be charging the homeowner.


That's the long and short of it.

If YOU want backup, that's on YOU.
 
2013-11-07 03:06:28 AM  
Strange. I pay taxes and I get "free" police and fire.
I wonder why people complain so much about paying taxes.

/yes, I saw that he paid taxes. Yes, I saw that he was getting billed by the second responders. Yes, I think they should go to hell. Yes I think they are trying to screw him over.
 
2013-11-07 06:48:25 AM  

doglover: Dufus: As a secondary response called by the other department they should not be charging the homeowner.

That's the long and short of it.

If YOU want backup, that's on YOU.


Remember those FF's denied LODD benefits? Now you know why Surprise called for someone else to do overhaul once the fire was knocked down
 
2013-11-07 06:49:32 AM  

Peter von Nostrand: Remember those FF's denied LODD benefits?


Why would Final Fantasy deny Lord of the Devil Dogs benefits to firefighters? That doesn't even make sense.
 
2013-11-07 07:23:53 AM  
Surprise, Arizona, huh?  Surprise, indeed.
 
2013-11-07 07:24:49 AM  

Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent


Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.
 
2013-11-07 07:29:06 AM  

doglover: Peter von Nostrand: Remember those FF's denied LODD benefits?

Why would Final Fantasy deny Lord of the Devil Dogs benefits to firefighters? That doesn't even make sense.


FF is for "fire fighters."  I think you've got LODD right, though...
 
2013-11-07 07:30:20 AM  
Was the fire chief's name Crassus?
 
2013-11-07 07:30:20 AM  

xanadian: Surprise, Arizona, huh?  Surprise, indeed.


Welcome to Arizona. You will not miss civilization at all.
 
2013-11-07 07:34:45 AM  
Free Market.
 
2013-11-07 07:36:23 AM  
$500 a year for fire coverage?  My local volunteer fire department only charges $75 a year and they have a new fire house and modern equipment.
 
2013-11-07 07:37:12 AM  
Can this also be explained as a weird accounting method?  Let me explain:

Occasionally we will read stories here on Fark where a home burns down and Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc. will then send a bill in full for their equipment - so the cable boxes, externally attached conversion boxes on the side of the house, modems, etc. amounting to hundreds if not a couple thousand dollars...

It seems outrageous to send a bill like this to a resident who just lost their home and all their possessions, but the intent is for them to send the bill directly to their own homeowners insurance policy, and let them work it out with the cable provider.

So could that be what is happening here?  Perhaps the rural fire departments/counties lack the resources to chase money down from the insurance companies, so they kick the bill over to the homeowner who is simply supposed to pass said bill to their insurance company?
 
2013-11-07 07:39:17 AM  
If the patient dies, the doctor still gets paid.
 
2013-11-07 07:40:54 AM  

Endive Wombat: Can this also be explained as a weird accounting method?  Let me explain:

Occasionally we will read stories here on Fark where a home burns down and Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc. will then send a bill in full for their equipment - so the cable boxes, externally attached conversion boxes on the side of the house, modems, etc. amounting to hundreds if not a couple thousand dollars...

It seems outrageous to send a bill like this to a resident who just lost their home and all their possessions, but the intent is for them to send the bill directly to their own homeowners insurance policy, and let them work it out with the cable provider.

So could that be what is happening here?  Perhaps the rural fire departments/counties lack the resources to chase money down from the insurance companies, so they kick the bill over to the homeowner who is simply supposed to pass said bill to their insurance company?


It states in the article that the bill is not covered by his homeowner's insurance.
 
2013-11-07 07:41:45 AM  

Elegy: FTFA: Surprise firefighters arrived at the house within 13 minutes and it took Rural Metro 24 minutes to arrive after the call. Their the closest firehouse is 20 miles away, Assessing the situation, neighbor Brian Repp said, "They got here late and his house is totally gone. OK. Then they're going to charge him $20,000 and they let his house go.

As best I can tell from this farking trainwreck of a sentence, even if we assume the first responders were sitting in the truck waiting for an emergency call, they still managed to average 93 mph on the way to the scene.


Uh, no. 20 miles in 24 minutes is nowhere near 93 mph. The 20 miles/24 minutes refers to the Rural Metro crew ("their closest firehouse" refers to the closest firehouse manned by Rural Metro, not the closest firehouse - operated by anyone - to the home). There is no mention of the distance that the Surprise crew, which arrived in 13 minutes, traveled.
 
2013-11-07 07:42:39 AM  
Was it Rural/Metro or F&B?

derricklferguson.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-11-07 07:42:40 AM  
Not a problem.  The homeowner just has to show up at the fire station uninvited.  Wash some windows, pick a few weeds out of the lot, and submit a $20,000 cleaning bill.
 
2013-11-07 07:43:30 AM  
They dont live in a fire district. The tax of $2 a year was for volunteer fire districts, which he did not live in. Perhaps the tax should only be changed if you live in one of the districts, but I see nothing asinine about being charged for a service that your area does not provide with taxes and people have to come from other areas to help. Would you prefer no fire station respond and guarantee your house be burned down due to your own fire or a neighbors fire?
 
2013-11-07 07:43:35 AM  

StrikitRich: $500 a year for fire coverage?  My local volunteer fire department only charges $75 a year and they have a new fire house and modern equipment.


These guys are a for profit company.  Thats the difference.
 
2013-11-07 07:43:55 AM  
Sue them for malpractice.
 
2013-11-07 07:44:25 AM  
But at least he is being helped by a good, kindly free market solution instead of an evil government socialism solution. This is true freedom!
 
2013-11-07 07:44:34 AM  

StrikitRich: $500 a year for fire coverage?  My local volunteer fire department only charges $75 a year and they have a new fire house and modern equipment.


You know why they call it a volunteer fire department?
 
2013-11-07 07:45:37 AM  

omnimancer28: Endive Wombat: Can this also be explained as a weird accounting method?  Let me explain:

Occasionally we will read stories here on Fark where a home burns down and Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc. will then send a bill in full for their equipment - so the cable boxes, externally attached conversion boxes on the side of the house, modems, etc. amounting to hundreds if not a couple thousand dollars...

It seems outrageous to send a bill like this to a resident who just lost their home and all their possessions, but the intent is for them to send the bill directly to their own homeowners insurance policy, and let them work it out with the cable provider.

So could that be what is happening here?  Perhaps the rural fire departments/counties lack the resources to chase money down from the insurance companies, so they kick the bill over to the homeowner who is simply supposed to pass said bill to their insurance company?

It states in the article that the bill is not covered by his homeowner's insurance.


I understand that.  However, that is not what I am asking here...
 
2013-11-07 07:46:41 AM  
It always amazes me how byzantine the whole covered vs. not covered situations for a homeowners policy and its almost random rules and regs based on different regions of even the same county.

I would be willing to pay a premium to have my homeowners policy with a gold foil stamp certified by the Fed, the Vatican and Hollywood (and whoever else I can think of... maybe a group of Fark Admins) that no matter what happens to my house (other than me intentionally burning it to the ground) I'm covered, no ifs ands or buts.
 
2013-11-07 07:48:10 AM  
Suck it, Randroids.

Going Galt is all fun and games until you need help.
 
2013-11-07 07:48:58 AM  

Jaws_Victim: But at least he is being helped by a good, kindly free market solution instead of an evil government socialism solution. This is true freedom!


Amen. We don't need none of that socialism round here.
 
2013-11-07 07:50:25 AM  

Endive Wombat: Can this also be explained as a weird accounting method?  Let me explain:

Occasionally we will read stories here on Fark where a home burns down and Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc. will then send a bill in full for their equipment - so the cable boxes, externally attached conversion boxes on the side of the house, modems, etc. amounting to hundreds if not a couple thousand dollars...

It seems outrageous to send a bill like this to a resident who just lost their home and all their possessions, but the intent is for them to send the bill directly to their own homeowners insurance policy, and let them work it out with the cable provider.

So could that be what is happening here?  Perhaps the rural fire departments/counties lack the resources to chase money down from the insurance companies, so they kick the bill over to the homeowner who is simply supposed to pass said bill to their insurance company?


It is probably like health care.  If you can't negotiate prior they will start high after.  So if you have $10k that 20k bill gets settled.  Maybe if you have $5k they will do a payment plan for the rest or figure something out, and write some of it off.  If that fire bankrupted you (possible) and you pay nothing, they write off the entire 20k.

So say three of these happens and a fair market price would be 2k.  If one person negotiates to 5k and pays it, while the other 2 pay nothing, you have 55k in losses to write off on 5k of profit.

My guess is it has a lot more to do with that type of thing.  When you inflate the numbers like that you turn it all into monopoly money as far as taxes are concerned.
 
2013-11-07 07:51:49 AM  

Fizpez: It always amazes me how byzantine the whole covered vs. not covered situations for a homeowners policy and its almost random rules and regs based on different regions of even the same county.

I would be willing to pay a premium to have my homeowners policy with a gold foil stamp certified by the Fed, the Vatican and Hollywood (and whoever else I can think of... maybe a group of Fark Admins) that no matter what happens to my house (other than me intentionally burning it to the ground) I'm covered, no ifs ands or buts.


Good luck on that.  I don't know if you noticed, but we recently tried to do that with health care insurance.  It really upsets lot of folks ;)
 
2013-11-07 07:52:00 AM  
Tell the FD they can have the house. Good job basement savers.
 
2013-11-07 07:59:59 AM  
RON PAUL!
 
2013-11-07 08:00:40 AM  
readwrite.com
 
2013-11-07 08:02:23 AM  

Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?


Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.
 
2013-11-07 08:04:43 AM  
Before the incident area residents thought they had fire coverage because they were paying a "fire district assistance tax." But it turns out that that is a countywide tax that funds volunteer fire districts.

That seems rather dishonestly worded. What, exactly, are you getting in return for this "fire district assistance tax"?

/come on guys, don't let me down . . .
 
2013-11-07 08:05:21 AM  

dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.


Taxes exist for a reason.  Things like fire departments are part of that reason.
 
2013-11-07 08:06:18 AM  

dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.


Are you just going to completely ignore the fact a public department DID make it there first and the huge bill is from the guys doing the clean up?
 
2013-11-07 08:06:32 AM  

NutWrench: Before the incident area residents thought they had fire coverage because they were paying a "fire district assistance tax." But it turns out that that is a countywide tax that funds volunteer fire districts.

That seems rather dishonestly worded. What, exactly, are you getting in return for this "fire district assistance tax"?

/come on guys, don't let me down . . .


They got the first responders who showed up and did not charge.
 
2013-11-07 08:10:40 AM  

LeGnome: If the patient dies, the doctor still gets paid.


Just like my vet did after my dog died in 'recovery' last week.  Got the ridiculous Rainbow Bridge sympathy card a few day later.
 
2013-11-07 08:15:50 AM  

Bucky Katt: FTFA: Arizona State Senator Chester Crandell admitted that fire coverage in Arizona's rural areas is a mess, "Having county islands that have no service in, in uh, fireboards that are just packing up and leaving, going bankrupt... It's certainly something that needs to be addressed."

How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?


Came here to say this, leaving satisfied.
 
2013-11-07 08:16:01 AM  
I absolutely do not feel sorry for these people. We have morons outside of fire juridiction do this every year. The refuse to buy a fire service subscription and then pay for the cheapest home owners insurance they can which usually does not cover fire damage. Then they scream bloody hell when they have a fire, have it put out, and get charged for it. Fark you people. Fire subscriptions help pay for training, equipment, and staff while allowing you a fairly low rate ($250 a year here) to protect yourself. Not getting it and then biatching when a fire happens is an asshat move.

I'm also laughing the article makes it seem $150 an hour is excessive for the hourly pay. Firefighters have to go through rigirous trainings, keep themselves in shape, work long hours, continue their education and endanger themselves everytime they go out on a call. $150 an hour is fair in my opinion.
 
2013-11-07 08:16:52 AM  
How about you guys privatize police and firefighters and prisons and hospitals and government. Then you reap what you sowed.
 
2013-11-07 08:17:28 AM  

dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.


What's "condencesion"?
 
2013-11-07 08:18:26 AM  

dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.


I grew up in an area where there were more cornfields than people, and we still had a volunteer fire department.

Ron Paul trolls...full of shiat.
 
2013-11-07 08:18:28 AM  

xanadian: doglover: Peter von Nostrand: Remember those FF's denied LODD benefits?

Why would Final Fantasy deny Lord of the Devil Dogs benefits to firefighters? That doesn't even make sense.

FF is for "fire fighters."  I think you've got LODD right, though...


Line of duty death
 
2013-11-07 08:18:30 AM  

Endive Wombat: Can this also be explained as a weird accounting method?


No because being a heartless ghoul is no excused because you can make money off it. In fact, it's worse. I have MUCH more respect for the company that bills the person whose house just burnt down because they're greedy bastards with souls because that's ALL that they are.

What you describe is greedy bastards with no souls WHO ARE ALSO LAZY FARKTURDS WITH NO SENSE OF TACT. An evil like Baron Harkonen you can at least respect for audacity's sake. Lazy farkturds are just coprolites who need to be dumped in a can with grit and water and spun a few days to get some polish on them.
 
2013-11-07 08:19:53 AM  

Tr0mBoNe: ArkAngel: Buy a yearly $500 subscription from Rural Metro for fire coverage, take the gamble of getting a bill if they have a house fire, or form their own fire district which could take months.

Less sympathy because of this, though without a written contract detailing their agreements with neighboring fire districts (and given the size of the bill) Metro may be SOL

I pay a little less than $400 a year for city fire service according to my tax breakdown... $500 seems reasonable for low density countryside.


For what its worth Surprise isn't a low density countryside. It is a suburb with about 120,000 people...especially of retirees.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-11-07 08:21:14 AM  
Once the fire is knocked down and brought under control, Rural Metro units then provide the overhaul and do essentially the mop up, if you will. So that takes a significant amount of time and a significant amount of resources.

So Rural Metro lets another department do the quick, intense work, then bills high hourly rates for the mopup. Good business model. Up against the wall right after the people who set ambulance and ER rates.
 
2013-11-07 08:21:15 AM  

AgentPothead: How about you guys privatize police and firefighters and prisons and hospitals and government. Then you reap what you sowed.


Wait, I thought privatizing government functions was a win/win?
 
2013-11-07 08:21:23 AM  
Given the choice between $500/yr and a surprise $20,000 bill I think I'd take the $20,000 bill.

Per 2011 Census and reports of home fires, there were 132,312,404 homes and 236,200 home fires. That's only a 1/560 chance for a fire in any year.
 
2013-11-07 08:22:31 AM  

hailin: I absolutely do not feel sorry for these people. We have morons outside of fire juridiction do this every year. The refuse to buy a fire service subscription and then pay for the cheapest home owners insurance they can which usually does not cover fire damage. Then they scream bloody hell when they have a fire, have it put out, and get charged for it. Fark you people. Fire subscriptions help pay for training, equipment, and staff while allowing you a fairly low rate ($250 a year here) to protect yourself. Not getting it and then biatching when a fire happens is an asshat move.

I'm also laughing the article makes it seem $150 an hour is excessive for the hourly pay. Firefighters have to go through rigirous trainings, keep themselves in shape, work long hours, continue their education and endanger themselves everytime they go out on a call. $150 an hour is fair in my opinion.


I thought this was funny too.  Most mechanics here charge close to that.  A lawyer starts around double that.  And you need a farking appointment to see either and they probably aren't going to come to you.
 
2013-11-07 08:23:32 AM  
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"
 
2013-11-07 08:23:57 AM  
Every time some county or city FD tries to fark someone over dozens of farktards scream "free market!"
 
2013-11-07 08:25:38 AM  
Also rural metro sounds like a dumbass name.  Just generally speaking
 
2013-11-07 08:26:48 AM  
How do they enforce payment of this bill?  If he doesn't pay what do they do?  Un-burn his house?
This was an unrequested service.  Can housepainters show up and paint his house and submit a bill?
 
2013-11-07 08:27:22 AM  

I.R.Aviator: 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"


Also this.  I have a feeling it would pop out that the owner of rural metro has a brother that is a fire chief for that place or some kick backs are going down to encourage this type of 'show up, have rural metro finish for you' stuff.
 
2013-11-07 08:31:00 AM  

You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.


FWIW in MA, or at least in my town, volunteer FF are not paid for structure fires but they are paid for grass/forest fires.  It's not a lot though, definitely not $150/hour.
 
2013-11-07 08:31:41 AM  

Gig103: What a freaking mess of a situation. My gut instinct was for him to STFU because he isn't paying taxes to support a fire department and wasn't complaining all those years of fire-free, low taxes. But then I kept reading and there was a vague reference to firefighting on his taxes, and the private company showed up after the city of Surprise responded.

The family's home insurance does not cover the charges.

That seems like a bad idea for someone in an area without a fire department. When I bought my house, I was asked on my homeowners insurance application the distance to the nearest responders - when he answered "There isn't one", you'd think the agent would have recommended some supplemental coverage. For all we know, they did and he declined it.


In most unincorporated areas (and this has specifically been the case with Rural Metro) they typically will not participate in fires with non-subscribers where no one's life is threatened.  Not sure how they can render services that the consumer did not ask for or authorize, then present a bill after the fact.
 
2013-11-07 08:32:26 AM  

The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?


It is when water is pulled out of the atmosphere, commonly onto cold surfaces, but thats not important right now.
 
2013-11-07 08:34:57 AM  
Oblig

i0.kym-cdn.com
 
2013-11-07 08:36:07 AM  
I have trouble defending Rural Metro on this one.  They are by far the worst private Fire/Ambulance service in the country.  Voters in my county approved a property tax increase of 5% a year by 94% to ditch Rural Metro and create their own ambulance service.
 
2013-11-07 08:36:32 AM  

The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?


It's the second highest form of patriotic, after descent.
 
2013-11-07 08:37:20 AM  

I.R.Aviator: 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"


Your breakdown is misleading at best. You imply that they are part of the surprise fire district, they are not, they have no fire district, they have to pay for service. The other option would be to let all the houses burn down because no one wants to pay for service.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-11-07 08:37:22 AM  
So how can the Surprise FD obligate the homeowner to pay for a service that he did not request.

My understanding is you can be responsible for some costs of unsolicited emergency response when society judges a reasonable person would not have refused. The principle is like the rule that minors can make binding contracts for necessities like food, although they can not be bound by contracts in general.

In my area they can't charge a fire protection fee because fire protection is part of property taxes. Emerson College v. City of Boston 391 Mass. 415 (1984). The rationale is, in densely populated areas you need a fire department to keep fires from spreading. These stories about subscription based fire services are usually in rural areas with scattered buildings that can be allowed to burn in isolation.
 
2013-11-07 08:38:44 AM  

simusid: You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.

FWIW in MA, or at least in my town, volunteer FF are not paid for structure fires but they are paid for grass/forest fires.  It's not a lot though, definitely not $150/hour.


You do realize most of that goes to overhead.  I don't think anyone is arguing the fire fighters actually get paid $150 /hr.
 
2013-11-07 08:40:12 AM  
The firefighters arent being paid $150/hr (I think we all know this) but the "bill" had to cover all the hours they're sitting around doing relatively little so they're available on a moments notice.  Idiot homeowner seems to forget they are not utilized at 100% time efficiency - someone has to pay for the training, equipment and downtime and the magic money fairy isnt dropping off bags of cash.
 
2013-11-07 08:41:39 AM  
This is what every day would be like in a teabagger paradise.
 
2013-11-07 08:44:54 AM  

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: This is what every day would be like in a teabagger paradise.


This has nothing to do with politics, and would happen just as often in a liberal area as well.
 
2013-11-07 08:46:29 AM  

CreamFilling: StrikitRich: $500 a year for fire coverage?  My local volunteer fire department only charges $75 a year and they have a new fire house and modern equipment.

You know why they call it a volunteer fire department?


They're all from Tennessee?
 
2013-11-07 08:47:25 AM  
privatizing things is always a good idea, because free market efficiency and stuff.
 
2013-11-07 08:48:02 AM  

thaylin: SacriliciousBeerSwiller: This is what every day would be like in a teabagger paradise.

This has nothing to do with politics, and would happen just as often in a liberal area as well.


Well, it wouldn't because they wouldn't let everything get privatized like that. Privatization of everything seems to be more the tea parties line. But hey, don't let reality change your opinion. Nobody else ever does.
 
2013-11-07 08:48:23 AM  
Surprise!
 
2013-11-07 08:49:26 AM  

doglover: Peter von Nostrand: Remember those FF's denied LODD benefits?

Why would Final Fantasy deny Lord of the Devil Dogs benefits to firefighters? That doesn't even make sense.


static.giantbomb.com
 
2013-11-07 08:53:03 AM  

hailin: I absolutely do not feel sorry for these people. We have morons outside of fire juridiction do this every year. The refuse to buy a fire service subscription and then pay for the cheapest home owners insurance they can which usually does not cover fire damage. Then they scream bloody hell when they have a fire, have it put out, and get charged for it. Fark you people. Fire subscriptions help pay for training, equipment, and staff while allowing you a fairly low rate ($250 a year here) to protect yourself. Not getting it and then biatching when a fire happens is an asshat move.

I'm also laughing the article makes it seem $150 an hour is excessive for the hourly pay. Firefighters have to go through rigirous trainings, keep themselves in shape, work long hours, continue their education and endanger themselves everytime they go out on a call. $150 an hour is fair in my opinion.


All of this is true, but it seems to have much more relevance to the wage that the firefighter is (or should be) paid, rather than the rate at which his work is billed out to the "client."  All those things do apply to the firefighter and are requirements of the job, but I doubt that it's all being paid by Rural Metro.

I'm an attorney, and for most matters I might bill my time out to my clients at $400/hour, but that has to cover my pro rata share of everything else - overhead, expenses, training, my salary, my staff's salaries, insurance, taxes, database subscriptions, my boss' vacations in St. Barth's (grumblegrumble), et cetera ad nauseam.  I categorically do not find $400 for every billed hour in my pay packet.

In this case, they do bill out the equipment overhead separately (or at least the part of it that corresponds to the fire truck), but all the same, I highly doubt that those guys are pulling down anything like the $300k that an hourly wage would give you.  Hell, newbie firefighters in New York City only make about $43k (source), but the FDNY doesn't have shareholders to satisfy and a profit motive to fulfill.

And finally, haven't we known that for-profit first responders are a bad idea since, I dunno, Crassus set fire to and subsequently bought up half of Rome?
 
2013-11-07 08:54:44 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: Was the fire chief's name Crassus?


Nicely done.
 
2013-11-07 08:56:36 AM  

Fizpez: The firefighters arent being paid $150/hr (I think we all know this) but the "bill" had to cover all the hours they're sitting around doing relatively little so they're available on a moments notice.  Idiot homeowner seems to forget they are not utilized at 100% time efficiency - someone has to pay for the training, equipment and downtime and the magic money fairy isnt dropping off bags of cash.


Idiot homeowner is protesting an inflated bill for services that he did not request that provided little or no value to him.
 
2013-11-07 08:57:39 AM  

NickelP: Fizpez: It always amazes me how byzantine the whole covered vs. not covered situations for a homeowners policy and its almost random rules and regs based on different regions of even the same county.

I would be willing to pay a premium to have my homeowners policy with a gold foil stamp certified by the Fed, the Vatican and Hollywood (and whoever else I can think of... maybe a group of Fark Admins) that no matter what happens to my house (other than me intentionally burning it to the ground) I'm covered, no ifs ands or buts.

Good luck on that.  I don't know if you noticed, but we recently tried to do that with health care insurance.  It really upsets lot of folks ;)


Because poor people! Lazy mooches!

coffee.jpg
 
2013-11-07 08:57:42 AM  

AgentPothead: thaylin: SacriliciousBeerSwiller: This is what every day would be like in a teabagger paradise.

This has nothing to do with politics, and would happen just as often in a liberal area as well.

Well, it wouldn't because they wouldn't let everything get privatized like that. Privatization of everything seems to be more the tea parties line. But hey, don't let reality change your opinion. Nobody else ever does.


It would because the community would still not want to pay for the firehouse in their area due to costs. This has nothing to do with privatization of anything, but a lack of fire service and of the home owner desire to pay the insurance.
 
2013-11-07 08:58:27 AM  
farm4.staticflickr.com
"If you choose to live in an unincorporated area which does not have basic services, you may not have fire or police coverage at all or you may be billed on a per-incident basis when a department from another tax base responds to your call"
Also, maybe you should take the time to understand the taxes you're paying instead of just paying them and making assumptions about what they might be...
 
2013-11-07 09:02:15 AM  

xria: The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?

It is when water is pulled out of the atmosphere, commonly onto cold surfaces, but thats not important right now.


You mean 'condensation'?
 
2013-11-07 09:04:37 AM  
We pay taxes to our local fire district, but because of the way the fire districts are laid out, the fire station is further away by several miles than two other fire stations that we don't pay taxes to. I have no idea what agreements are in place or what they would charge us in event of an emergency. I once attempted to ask those "in charge" of the neighborhood about emergency services and was rebuffed (It's a long story, but the nicer part of the neighborhood is in one fire district and our part is in another). I guess I'm just hoping that no one on this side of the fire district line ends up a fark story someday.
 
2013-11-07 09:06:10 AM  
Privatize Everything!!! Vote Republican!!!
 
2013-11-07 09:06:55 AM  

SeesWhatYouDidThere: Privatize Everything!!! Vote Republican!!!


This.
 
2013-11-07 09:10:59 AM  
This needs to be addressed by the Arizona legislature.

Step 1) round up the Mexicans
 
2013-11-07 09:19:36 AM  

NickelP: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

Are you just going to completely ignore the fact a public department DID make it there first and the huge bill is from the guys doing the clean up?


It seems a little asinine to me that the homeowner would be on the hook for charges from a for-profit entity that he didn't agree to have provide him service.

That's like taking your car to the mechanic to get your brakes changed, and upon paying for the bill you see that as a 'courtesy' they took your car to another shop and also replaced your shocks, struts, control arms, and ball joints, charged you accordingly, and didn't bother to disclose that information until you got sticker shock on your bill.  But they figured you needed it anyway- so they got the work done.

Under that provided scenario, not only are those dubious business practices- but it's also downright illegal.  Why it's acceptable under this circumstance is beyond me.  For fark's sake- these Rural Metro assholes were only called in to do the busywork.  How that warrants a $20,000 bill is BEYOND me (and farked up).
 
2013-11-07 09:25:25 AM  

ArkAngel: Less sympathy because of this, though without a written contract detailing their agreements with neighboring fire districts (and given the size of the bill) Metro may be SOL


I was about to go jump on the guy about being a teabagger not wanting high taxes then complaining about lack of services, but in this case, the fact that there was only a "gentlemen's agreement" over the situation and he saw a reference to paying for firefighters on his tax bill, yeah, i cant fault the guy completely.

Additionally, in the year 2013 in the most sophisticated nation in the world, you would think that having public fire protection would be just a given. It may be my years of living in NYC where you can't walk three blocks without tripping over a fire station though.

In any case, it reminds me of this:  www.historyireland.com
 
2013-11-07 09:27:23 AM  

MycroftHolmes: Fizpez: The firefighters arent being paid $150/hr (I think we all know this) but the "bill" had to cover all the hours they're sitting around doing relatively little so they're available on a moments notice.  Idiot homeowner seems to forget they are not utilized at 100% time efficiency - someone has to pay for the training, equipment and downtime and the magic money fairy isnt dropping off bags of cash.

Idiot homeowner is protesting an inflated bill for services that he did not request that provided little or no value to him.


I was more responding to his "shock" at the hourly - I have no doubt that the company involved didnt need to be there and as such should be told to go pound salt - but if you end up using a service that has very high down time but has very high value based on timely response it shouldnt surprise him that the billed hourly is going to be very high.
 
2013-11-07 09:27:50 AM  

Chagrin: Given the choice between $500/yr and a surprise $20,000 bill I think I'd take the $20,000 bill.

Per 2011 Census and reports of home fires, there were 132,312,404 homes and 236,200 home fires. That's only a 1/560 chance for a fire in any year.


Yes but it's $20,000 you may suddenly lose, potentially twice, when you don't have it.

$500/year is a risk control.  You're paying to not have a situation where you suddenly take -$20,000 in the ass.
 
2013-11-07 09:28:59 AM  
No prob, just submit the bill to your insurance company.  o wait.
 
2013-11-07 09:32:55 AM  

Fizpez: MycroftHolmes: Fizpez: The firefighters arent being paid $150/hr (I think we all know this) but the "bill" had to cover all the hours they're sitting around doing relatively little so they're available on a moments notice.  Idiot homeowner seems to forget they are not utilized at 100% time efficiency - someone has to pay for the training, equipment and downtime and the magic money fairy isnt dropping off bags of cash.

Idiot homeowner is protesting an inflated bill for services that he did not request that provided little or no value to him.

I was more responding to his "shock" at the hourly - I have no doubt that the company involved didnt need to be there and as such should be told to go pound salt - but if you end up using a service that has very high down time but has very high value based on timely response it shouldnt surprise him that the billed hourly is going to be very high.


FOr your argument to hold weight, you would have to justify that having full time professionals on standby would exceed the performance of volunteer departments.  A 20 minute response time to do non-time critical mopup does not justify the cost you described.  That is like saying that a visit to a family clinic during business hours, and being charged overhead for an adjoining after hours ER.  The service that you took in did not require the infrastructure you are paying for.
 
2013-11-07 09:34:26 AM  

thaylin: I.R.Aviator: 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"

Your breakdown is misleading at best. You imply that they are part of the surprise fire district, they are not, they have no fire district, they have to pay for service. The other option would be to let all the houses burn down because no one wants to pay for service.


If that is true, why did the Surprise Fire Department show up first and not bill them? There were already other departments there, the Rural Metro FD did not notify the owners in advance that they'd be billed for their services. Rural Metro only did clean up, and gave no notification of liability for services when they arrived. The customer in this case wasn't given the opportunity to refuse services.

In capitalism, you don't just show up, do work and expect to be paid without the customer consenting to initial services and for the compensation for services. (In this case, you don't show up late, only working on the clean up part and expect compensation without informing the customer that services rendered are for fees). In capitalism, a customer should always be given the opportunity to refuse services or to negotiate fees. The customer was not given either of these opportunities, therefore, Rural Metro's services should be viewed as charity work.

If you stop at a gas station and there's a charity wash who washes your car while you're there and the gas station provides services at a fee without telling you in advance that they're actually charging you for it, should they have a reasonable expectation of collecting on services rendered?
 
2013-11-07 09:37:41 AM  
If the home owner doesn't have a contract and didn't request service from Rural Metro, what basis does the company have for sending them a bill?
 
2013-11-07 09:46:17 AM  

ohokyeah: thaylin: I.R.Aviator: 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"

Your breakdown is misleading at best. You imply that they are part of the surprise fire district, they are not, they have no fire district, they have to pay for service. The other option would be to let all the houses burn down because no one wants to pay for service.

If that is true, why did the Surprise Fire Department show up first and not bill them? There were already other departments there, the Rural Metro FD did not notify the owners in advance that they'd be billed for their services. Rural Metro only did clean up, and gave no notification of liability for services when they arrived. The customer in this case wasn't given the opportunity to refuse services.

In capitalism, you don't just show up, do work and expect to be paid without the customer consenting to initial services and ...


The surprise fire department passed off part of the work to metro, it is in the article and the video.. Also fire services are not something you are able to refuse because it not only affects you but your neighbors... IF your house is on fire it has to be put out for the betterment of society, aka your neighbors, less your stupidity becomes their problem. There is also the liability issue, if they did not fight the fire and someone died there could be some major issue..

this leads to the part where they actually showed up and fought part of the fire, just not the initial stages.
 
2013-11-07 09:48:51 AM  

The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?


I think it means "moist".
 
2013-11-07 09:49:22 AM  

Fish in a Barrel: If the home owner doesn't have a contract and didn't request service from Rural Metro, what basis does the company have for sending them a bill?


He might be stupid enough to pay it.
 
2013-11-07 09:49:24 AM  
I have very little sympathy for this guy. He chose to live in an unincorporated area with inadequate fire coverage. I'm guessing he chose to live there because taxes are lower. Then he has an insurance policy that isn't sufficiently comprehensive and won't cover the bill. Should have read the fine print.

I really don't understand why he thinks he should be covered by emergency services at the same level as someone who lives in the coverage area of the fire department. They came, ensured everyone's safety and called in a private company to finish the job. It's perfectly reasonable since they don't cover the area in the first place.

Where I live, some people were complaining about the police calling a specific towing company to get their cars off the main highway after an accident (and the car owner paying the bill). Argued they should be allowed to call around for the best rate. The police replied that it was in everyone's interest to get the vehicles off the highway asap and the company they called was best set up to do it (I see this company's trucks parked strategically near the highway on ramps all the time). Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

/that's not to say that there isn't a sweetheart deal going on in either instance. Just that services cost money and there are situations where you don't get much choice about using the service.
 
2013-11-07 09:54:17 AM  

thaylin: The surprise fire department passed off part of the work to metro, it is in the article and the video.. Also fire services are not something you are able to refuse because it not only affects you but your neighbors... IF your house is on fire it has to be put out for the betterment of society, aka your neighbors, less your stupidity becomes their problem. There is also the liability issue, if they did not fight the fire and someone died there could be some major issue..

this leads to the part where they actually showed up and fought part of the fire, just not the initial stages.


Part of this statement is not true.  Rural Metro has come under fire in the past for rolling a truck, then refusing to fight a fire because the house was not a subscriber.  They rolled the truck to protect neighboring houses that were subscribers

So the idea that Rural Metro will fight fires for non-sibscribers as a policy is documentedly false.
 
2013-11-07 09:54:51 AM  

Fish in a Barrel: If the home owner doesn't have a contract and didn't request service from Rural Metro, what basis does the company have for sending them a bill?


On the basis they were hoping it wouldn't get publicized, the homeowner had insurance coverage for fire bills, and that he'd forward it like a good little fire victim to his insurer who would pay the super-over-inflated bill.

On that basis.
 
2013-11-07 09:56:29 AM  

daisygrrl: I have very little sympathy for this guy. He chose to live in an unincorporated area with inadequate fire coverage. I'm guessing he chose to live there because taxes are lower. Then he has an insurance policy that isn't sufficiently comprehensive and won't cover the bill. Should have read the fine print.

I really don't understand why he thinks he should be covered by emergency services at the same level as someone who lives in the coverage area of the fire department. They came, ensured everyone's safety and called in a private company to finish the job. It's perfectly reasonable since they don't cover the area in the first place.

Where I live, some people were complaining about the police calling a specific towing company to get their cars off the main highway after an accident (and the car owner paying the bill). Argued they should be allowed to call around for the best rate. The police replied that it was in everyone's interest to get the vehicles off the highway asap and the company they called was best set up to do it (I see this company's trucks parked strategically near the highway on ramps all the time). Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

/that's not to say that there isn't a sweetheart deal going on in either instance. Just that services cost money and there are situations where you don't get much choice about using the service.


This guy isn't complaining that FD didn't respond, he is angry because he is being charged for something he didn't request.  He chose to live unicorporated, so they should not have rolled a truck at all or charged him at all.
 
2013-11-07 09:57:48 AM  
If a private company can just show up uninvited and provide services, then send a bill, that makes all kinds of interesting business models possible.  Granted, it basically amounts to extortion (nice credit you've got there -- would be a shame if anything happened to it), but hey, if you can take customer choice out of the equation, why not?
 
2013-11-07 10:00:44 AM  

daisygrrl: I have very little sympathy for this guy. ...


People who start posts like this rarely have much sympathy for anyone -- until they're on the receiving end of something like TFA.
 
2013-11-07 10:01:44 AM  

pxlboy: rumpelstiltskin: Was the fire chief's name Crassus?

Nicely done.


Hic.
 
2013-11-07 10:02:18 AM  

formerfloozy: The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?

I think it means "moist".



mypetjawa.mu.nu
 
2013-11-07 10:05:03 AM  

MycroftHolmes: thaylin: The surprise fire department passed off part of the work to metro, it is in the article and the video.. Also fire services are not something you are able to refuse because it not only affects you but your neighbors... IF your house is on fire it has to be put out for the betterment of society, aka your neighbors, less your stupidity becomes their problem. There is also the liability issue, if they did not fight the fire and someone died there could be some major issue..

this leads to the part where they actually showed up and fought part of the fire, just not the initial stages.

Part of this statement is not true.  Rural Metro has come under fire in the past for rolling a truck, then refusing to fight a fire because the house was not a subscriber.  They rolled the truck to protect neighboring houses that were subscribers

So the idea that Rural Metro will fight fires for non-sibscribers as a policy is documentedly false.



No it is not, in that case they did not have an agreement with other fire stations to take over.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-11-07 10:05:45 AM  
jshine: If a private company can just show up uninvited and provide services, then send a bill, that makes all kinds of interesting business models possible.

Predatory towing is the most common example of this business model.
 
2013-11-07 10:07:52 AM  

Fizpez: It always amazes me how byzantine the whole covered vs. not covered situations for a homeowners policy and its almost random rules and regs based on different regions of even the same county.

I would be willing to pay a premium to have my homeowners policy with a gold foil stamp certified by the Fed, the Vatican and Hollywood (and whoever else I can think of... maybe a group of Fark Admins) that no matter what happens to my house (other than me intentionally burning it to the ground) I'm covered, no ifs ands or buts.


Except they never write one policy. You would need standard homeowners, a medical rider, a sewer rider, flood insurance, and possibly supplemental hurricane, earthquake, typhoon, wind, invasion, civil war, alien invasion, and CHUD insurance to be covered.
 
2013-11-07 10:10:32 AM  
They live out in the country and therefore don't pay city taxes.  They could have paid the $500 a year to be covered by Rural Metro, but they chose not to do that.  Their gamble did not pay off.

Yes, I feel bad for them, (mostly due to the burned down house) but I understand why they are getting billed, too.
 
2013-11-07 10:12:11 AM  

bluefoxicy: Chagrin: Given the choice between $500/yr and a surprise $20,000 bill I think I'd take the $20,000 bill.

Per 2011 Census and reports of home fires, there were 132,312,404 homes and 236,200 home fires. That's only a 1/560 chance for a fire in any year.

Yes but it's $20,000 you may suddenly lose, potentially twice, when you don't have it.

$500/year is a risk control.  You're paying to not have a situation where you suddenly take -$20,000 in the ass.


The financial industry loves people that think like you.
 
2013-11-07 10:12:50 AM  

Fish in a Barrel: If the home owner doesn't have a contract and didn't request service from Rural Metro, what basis does the company have for sending them a bill?


Fires spread.

Next question, Ayn?
 
2013-11-07 10:13:05 AM  

daisygrrl: I have very little sympathy for this guy. He chose to live in an unincorporated area with inadequate fire coverage. I'm guessing he chose to live there because taxes are lower. Then he has an insurance policy that isn't sufficiently comprehensive and won't cover the bill. Should have read the fine print.

I really don't understand why he thinks he should be covered by emergency services at the same level as someone who lives in the coverage area of the fire department. They came, ensured everyone's safety and called in a private company to finish the job. It's perfectly reasonable since they don't cover the area in the first place.

Where I live, some people were complaining about the police calling a specific towing company to get their cars off the main highway after an accident (and the car owner paying the bill). Argued they should be allowed to call around for the best rate. The police replied that it was in everyone's interest to get the vehicles off the highway asap and the company they called was best set up to do it (I see this company's trucks parked strategically near the highway on ramps all the time). Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

/that's not to say that there isn't a sweetheart deal going on in either instance. Just that services cost money and there are situations where you don't get much choice about using the service.


Perfectly reasonable, until the police and tow company start shenanigans, like what happened in St. Louis. In St. Louis the city tow company was just yanking anybody they wanted to, hauling them down to the impound lot and then "losing" the paperwork. Cars were being "loaned" out for "stake outs"  and as "bait cars" to the police. Now this resulted in some police captains daughter getting arrested driving an "impounded" car while high. They were also being sold outright as "salvage".

Frankly I'm surprised somebody did not get shot over that shiat.
 
2013-11-07 10:13:45 AM  

Chagrin: The financial industry loves people that think like you.


You don't understand risk management.
 
2013-11-07 10:14:46 AM  

You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.


It's common around here. Some of the bigger departments have "paid on-call" guys who only get paid when they are called in, but out in the rural areas it's strictly volunteer, even for the officers. I've been Chief of our department for 2 years, and I've never gotten a penny. I'm also an EMT on our volunteer ambulance service though, and we DO get paid a flat $30/call on the ambulance. The closest hospital is 40 miles away and a normal call lasts at least 2 hours, so it's not great pay, but it's something.
 
2013-11-07 10:17:54 AM  

MycroftHolmes: Fizpez: The firefighters arent being paid $150/hr (I think we all know this) but the "bill" had to cover all the hours they're sitting around doing relatively little so they're available on a moments notice.  Idiot homeowner seems to forget they are not utilized at 100% time efficiency - someone has to pay for the training, equipment and downtime and the magic money fairy isnt dropping off bags of cash.

Idiot homeowner is protesting an inflated bill for services that he did not request that provided little or no value to him.


When the homeowner called the Surprise FD, he should have asked the dispatcher to outline who would be responding to the call; how their resources would be utilized; whether there would be any third party service providers used and who would be responsible for selecting them and compensating them; and what the estimated cost of the services would be.  He should also have asked for references.

The homeowner should also have called several other fire departments to gather the same information from them, and checked online resources for additional references and reviews.

Then he could have done a cost benefits analysis, and selected the solution that best fit his individualized needs.  When he placed his order, he should have specifically identified what he was asking for, and what he was willing to pay for it.

The homeowner didn't do his homework as a consumer; if he would have done so, this whole mess could have been avoided.
 
2013-11-07 10:20:03 AM  
I'd charge them for trespassing and theft for whatever they "mopped up."

Pretty sure someone - especially a private company - can't provide services unsolicited and then charge you after the fact.
 
2013-11-07 10:20:27 AM  

Wheyfaring Stranger: When the homeowner called the Surprise FD

...

I'll just stop you right there, because that never happened.
 
2013-11-07 10:25:37 AM  

jshine: Wheyfaring Stranger: When the homeowner called the Surprise FD...

I'll just stop you right there, because that never happened.


Picky, picky, picky.

/No, thanks, I'll show myself out of the thread.
 
2013-11-07 10:26:48 AM  

mod3072: You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.

It's common around here. Some of the bigger departments have "paid on-call" guys who only get paid when they are called in, but out in the rural areas it's strictly volunteer, even for the officers. I've been Chief of our department for 2 years, and I've never gotten a penny. I'm also an EMT on our volunteer ambulance service though, and we DO get paid a flat $30/call on the ambulance. The closest hospital is 40 miles away and a normal call lasts at least 2 hours, so it's not great pay, but it's something.


How to tell who didn't rtfa...
 
2013-11-07 10:27:40 AM  
Wrong quote.
 
2013-11-07 10:28:50 AM  

Bootstrappy!

"Unincorporated area without fire coverage" = "billed for services rendered". This is exactly what teabaggers want, so why all the pearl-clutching?
 
2013-11-07 10:28:55 AM  

MycroftHolmes: daisygrrl: I have very little sympathy for this guy. He chose to live in an unincorporated area with inadequate fire coverage. I'm guessing he chose to live there because taxes are lower. Then he has an insurance policy that isn't sufficiently comprehensive and won't cover the bill. Should have read the fine print.

I really don't understand why he thinks he should be covered by emergency services at the same level as someone who lives in the coverage area of the fire department. They came, ensured everyone's safety and called in a private company to finish the job. It's perfectly reasonable since they don't cover the area in the first place.

Where I live, some people were complaining about the police calling a specific towing company to get their cars off the main highway after an accident (and the car owner paying the bill). Argued they should be allowed to call around for the best rate. The police replied that it was in everyone's interest to get the vehicles off the highway asap and the company they called was best set up to do it (I see this company's trucks parked strategically near the highway on ramps all the time). Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

/that's not to say that there isn't a sweetheart deal going on in either instance. Just that services cost money and there are situations where you don't get much choice about using the service.

This guy isn't complaining that FD didn't respond, he is angry because he is being charged for something he didn't request.  He chose to live unicorporated, so they should not have rolled a truck at all or charged him at all.


So he didn't want fire coverage since he didn't live in an area covered by it? Look, I get that he appeared to think he was covered for fire (although I think it was silly of him to assume that). I get that he felt that the services by Rural Metro were not worth the amount billed. But he was not home at the time of the fire. What were they supposed to do? He would have been pissed if he showed up and learned that the FD came and left once it was established that no one was at risk without doing anything further. In this case, they did something further. They called a private company to mop up and ensure things stayed under control.
 
2013-11-07 10:29:37 AM  

hailin: I absolutely do not feel sorry for these people. We have morons outside of fire juridiction do this every year. The refuse to buy a fire service subscription and then pay for the cheapest home owners insurance they can which usually does not cover fire damage. Then they scream bloody hell when they have a fire, have it put out, and get charged for it. Fark you people. Fire subscriptions help pay for training, equipment, and staff while allowing you a fairly low rate ($250 a year here) to protect yourself. Not getting it and then biatching when a fire happens is an asshat move.

I'm also laughing the article makes it seem $150 an hour is excessive for the hourly pay. Firefighters have to go through rigirous trainings, keep themselves in shape, work long hours, continue their education and endanger themselves everytime they go out on a call. $150 an hour is fair in my opinion.


Several years ago, I was a City Councilman in a small city with a volunteer fire department.   However, the city funded the facilities and training budget so I got a good look at our cost breakdowns.

These rates actually look a little low since you would try to recover your cost over only the hours actually worked.  Fire departments have huge fixed costs that you hope to spread out over only a few working hours (the fewer fires, the fewer billable hours).   In the case of the city I was in, where it was spread out over every structure in town,  it was a little over 10% of our total property taxes.
 
2013-11-07 10:32:39 AM  

FormlessOne: Bootstrappy!"Unincorporated area without fire coverage" = "billed for services rendered". This is exactly what teabaggers want, so why all the pearl-clutching?


Because it's only okay when it happens to someone else. Once it happens to them it's all like ZOMG! Why you no take care of me, gubermint?!
 
2013-11-07 10:34:43 AM  

thaylin: ohokyeah: thaylin: I.R.Aviator:

The surprise fire department passed off part of the work to metro, it is in the article and the video.. Also fire services are not something you are able to refuse because it not only affects you but your neighbors... IF your house is on fire it has to be put out for the betterment of society, aka your neighbors, less your stupidity becomes their problem. There is also the liability issue, if they did not fight the fire and someone died there could be some major issue..

this leads to the part where they actually showed up and fought part of the fire, just not the initial stages.


There were already several fire fighters present, the threat of fire spreading should have already been minimized due to that presence. Was the fire really at risk for spread when one FD was already present and fighting the fire?
 
2013-11-07 10:35:04 AM  

I.R.Aviator: 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"


Absolutely this. No written copy of an agreement and you admitted it? Good luck collecting a penny from the homeowner or even the county. The dumbest thing they can, and probably will do, is try and collect.
 
2013-11-07 10:39:23 AM  

Wheyfaring Stranger: MycroftHolmes: Fizpez: The firefighters arent being paid $150/hr (I think we all know this) but the "bill" had to cover all the hours they're sitting around doing relatively little so they're available on a moments notice.  Idiot homeowner seems to forget they are not utilized at 100% time efficiency - someone has to pay for the training, equipment and downtime and the magic money fairy isnt dropping off bags of cash.

Idiot homeowner is protesting an inflated bill for services that he did not request that provided little or no value to him.

When the homeowner called the Surprise FD, he should have asked the dispatcher to outline who would be responding to the call; how their resources would be utilized; whether there would be any third party service providers used and who would be responsible for selecting them and compensating them; and what the estimated cost of the services would be.  He should also have asked for references.

The homeowner should also have called several other fire departments to gather the same information from them, and checked online resources for additional references and reviews.

Then he could have done a cost benefits analysis, and selected the solution that best fit his individualized needs.  When he placed his order, he should have specifically identified what he was asking for, and what he was willing to pay for it.

The homeowner didn't do his homework as a consumer; if he would have done so, this whole mess could have been avoided.


Well, he did not call any FD.  So, he should have done his market research first, then explicitly documented which services could or could not respond, and placed that document in a place veisible to any passerby.
 
2013-11-07 10:41:16 AM  
My parents live in surprise. It's not at all rural or low density or remote.

This is pretty frightening.
 
2013-11-07 11:11:36 AM  
If you live in a "special' area, you deal with the risks. Oh, essential services are not a right, like 'obamacare" either.
If you're a renter, ask for a copy of your lease, it should be listed there. On tyhis story, I invoke the "Benson" statute(Do it your own g'damned self) or stop crying.Sounds like a job for litigation, where things are not written, but this "Gwntlemens agreement' stuff is so much horseshiat. I make sure I have insurance, but I don't own a trailer, but a 300k house. Only 10 years to go on a 15 year note. I think the hardest part was writing a down payment check for 60k.
 
2013-11-07 11:24:03 AM  

thaylin: No it is not, in that case they did not have an agreement with other fire stations to take over.

I can see your point only from the standpoint that R/M may hvae thought that they had a better chance of collecting by responding to a mutual aid request.  But that does not change the fact that R/M i sperfectly happy to let a house burn if it is not one of their paid subscribers.  They have done it in the past.
 
2013-11-07 11:27:14 AM  
in his unincorporated area that has no fire coverage.

Sorry, dude... If I don't have health insurance and go in to find out why I'm pissing green pus, I'm going to get billed directly for all of the tests, even if they don't solve the problem.

Back in the 90's, a house burned to the ground in the middle of Tempe because that ONE homeowner refused to buy in when they moved to a city wide fire department. The only firefighting done there was to keep it from spreading to homes that WERE covered. It's how these things work.
 
2013-11-07 11:27:37 AM  

MycroftHolmes: Gig103: What a freaking mess of a situation. My gut instinct was for him to STFU because he isn't paying taxes to support a fire department and wasn't complaining all those years of fire-free, low taxes. But then I kept reading and there was a vague reference to firefighting on his taxes, and the private company showed up after the city of Surprise responded.

The family's home insurance does not cover the charges.

That seems like a bad idea for someone in an area without a fire department. When I bought my house, I was asked on my homeowners insurance application the distance to the nearest responders - when he answered "There isn't one", you'd think the agent would have recommended some supplemental coverage. For all we know, they did and he declined it.

In most unincorporated areas (and this has specifically been the case with Rural Metro) they typically will not participate in fires with non-subscribers where no one's life is threatened.  Not sure how they can render services that the consumer did not ask for or authorize, then present a bill after the fact.


Excellent point. The person doing the hiring pays the bill. If I hire a landscaper because my neighbor's lawn is a mess, I have to pay for it.

Screw these firefighters or let Surprise Pay.
 
2013-11-07 11:35:56 AM  

Gig103: MycroftHolmes: Gig103: What a freaking mess of a situation. My gut instinct was for him to STFU because he isn't paying taxes to support a fire department and wasn't complaining all those years of fire-free, low taxes. But then I kept reading and there was a vague reference to firefighting on his taxes, and the private company showed up after the city of Surprise responded.

The family's home insurance does not cover the charges.

That seems like a bad idea for someone in an area without a fire department. When I bought my house, I was asked on my homeowners insurance application the distance to the nearest responders - when he answered "There isn't one", you'd think the agent would have recommended some supplemental coverage. For all we know, they did and he declined it.

In most unincorporated areas (and this has specifically been the case with Rural Metro) they typically will not participate in fires with non-subscribers where no one's life is threatened.  Not sure how they can render services that the consumer did not ask for or authorize, then present a bill after the fact.

Excellent point. The person doing the hiring pays the bill. If I hire a landscaper because my neighbor's lawn is a mess, I have to pay for it.

Screw these firefighters or let Surprise Pay.


That's the other thing, and maybe some firefighters can correct me, but I thought that mutual aid agreements were based on reciprocity, not on money changing hands.  Does Surprize get paid if they respond to a Rural Metro call?
 
2013-11-07 11:38:41 AM  
i.imgur.com
 
2013-11-07 11:38:51 AM  

pxlboy: xria: The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?

It is when water is pulled out of the atmosphere, commonly onto cold surfaces, but thats not important right now.

You mean 'condensation'?


No, that's "consternation".
 
2013-11-07 11:40:04 AM  
Submitting a bill for a service not wanted or rendered should be grounds for a fraud conviction and subsequent hanging.
 
2013-11-07 11:40:36 AM  

udhq: My parents live in surprise. It's not at all rural or low density or remote.

This is pretty frightening.


You sound...surprised...

//Like 10,000 spoons...
 
2013-11-07 11:41:34 AM  

The Envoy: pxlboy: xria: The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?

It is when water is pulled out of the atmosphere, commonly onto cold surfaces, but thats not important right now.

You mean 'condensation'?

No, that's "consternation".


YOu are thinking of 'Conflagration'
 
2013-11-07 12:03:37 PM  

MycroftHolmes: The Envoy: pxlboy: xria: The Envoy: dfenstrate: Bucky Katt: How are all the tax cuts and small government working out for you?

Take a good look at the area, the population density, the tax base, and the average income, and tell us how you could arrange fire coverage better.

Lefties. Full of snark and condencesion, only to reveal themselves as incompetent when in charge.

What's "condencesion"?

It is when water is pulled out of the atmosphere, commonly onto cold surfaces, but thats not important right now.

You mean 'condensation'?

No, that's "consternation".

YOu are thinking of 'Conflagration'


I believe "constipation" is what we are all tripping up on here
 
2013-11-07 12:28:59 PM  
Reading about this company has been all kinds of fun, and made me wonder how much fun a private police force would be. Crying rape? Are you a subscriber? Can you pay me my wage to tackle and arrest the perp for 100$/hr? Let me see your credit card. Hes gone already? Shouldve been faster forking over your money. Now i have to arrest you for impeding my investigation,
 
2013-11-07 12:33:08 PM  

Jaws_Victim: Reading about this company has been all kinds of fun, and made me wonder how much fun a private police force would be. Crying rape? Are you a subscriber? Can you pay me my wage to tackle and arrest the perp for 100$/hr? Let me see your credit card. Hes gone already? Shouldve been faster forking over your money. Now i have to arrest you for impeding my investigation,


But image the upsell opportunities

'Thank you for selecting breaking and entering.  For $59 more, would you like to upgrade the charges to 1st deegree burglary?'
 
2013-11-07 12:55:56 PM  
So...this might be news to some but fires spread.

Whatever the reason for it, whatever the owner's coverage, the house fire of your neighbor is also your concern.  That's why we HAVE fire departments.  That fire has to be put out.  That means everybody needs coverage.  That means the "privatize" model doesn't work.
 
2013-11-07 12:56:15 PM  
So either he is being extorted for a contract he didn't agree to or they are in default for not fulfilling their end of the deal.
 
2013-11-07 12:56:18 PM  

grumpyguru: mod3072: You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.

It's common around here. Some of the bigger departments have "paid on-call" guys who only get paid when they are called in, but out in the rural areas it's strictly volunteer, even for the officers. I've been Chief of our department for 2 years, and I've never gotten a penny. I'm also an EMT on our volunteer ambulance service though, and we DO get paid a flat $30/call on the ambulance. The closest hospital is 40 miles away and a normal call lasts at least 2 hours, so it's not great pay, but it's something.

How to tell who didn't rtfa...


I was answering a direct question. It is, in fact, common for volunteer firemen to not be paid, at least in some parts of the country. What does that have to do with reading or not reading the article?
 
2013-11-07 12:56:33 PM  
You have to pay for the farking fire department?!  WTF?  Is this a rural Arizona thing, or an 'America' thing?  North of the 49, we sure as hell don't pay the fire department except through taxes.

Someone please explain this 'paying for essential services' thing to me...I'm reeling for the sheer implausibility of it.
 
2013-11-07 01:16:53 PM  

You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.


Very common almost every department I know of that is volunteer receive no money.  I think the person you were talking to is a paid on call -- where they are paid when they go on a call, which differs from career, where you are paid when you are on station...
 
2013-11-07 01:20:48 PM  

Endive Wombat: Can this also be explained as a weird accounting method?  Let me explain:

Occasionally we will read stories here on Fark where a home burns down and Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc. will then send a bill in full for their equipment - so the cable boxes, externally attached conversion boxes on the side of the house, modems, etc. amounting to hundreds if not a couple thousand dollars...

It seems outrageous to send a bill like this to a resident who just lost their home and all their possessions, but the intent is for them to send the bill directly to their own homeowners insurance policy, and let them work it out with the cable provider.

So could that be what is happening here?  Perhaps the rural fire departments/counties lack the resources to chase money down from the insurance companies, so they kick the bill over to the homeowner who is simply supposed to pass said bill to their insurance company?


no, under normal circumstances, in municipality provided fire departments, there is no charge -- we don't bill insurance nor the homeowner.  This is apparently a private fire company, the free market approach if you will, which is charging for services
 
2013-11-07 01:21:52 PM  

fmk040: You have to pay for the farking fire department?!  WTF?  Is this a rural Arizona thing, or an 'America' thing?  North of the 49, we sure as hell don't pay the fire department except through taxes.

Someone please explain this 'paying for essential services' thing to me...I'm reeling for the sheer implausibility of it.


In unincoproated areas, the population density is too low to support municipal fire departments.  In these cases, either private or volunteer fire departments usually provide coverage.  In those cases, the l;andowners are not taxed for fire protection.
 
2013-11-07 01:22:18 PM  

Mikey1969: in his unincorporated area that has no fire coverage.

Sorry, dude... If I don't have health insurance and go in to find out why I'm pissing green pus, I'm going to get billed directly for all of the tests, even if they don't solve the problem.

Back in the 90's, a house burned to the ground in the middle of Tempe because that ONE homeowner refused to buy in when they moved to a city wide fire department. The only firefighting done there was to keep it from spreading to homes that WERE covered. It's how these things work.


In summary, decisions still have consequences. Surprise!
 
2013-11-07 01:28:22 PM  

fmk040: You have to pay for the farking fire department?!  WTF?  Is this a rural Arizona thing, or an 'America' thing?  North of the 49, we sure as hell don't pay the fire department except through taxes.

Someone please explain this 'paying for essential services' thing to me...I'm reeling for the sheer implausibility of it.


I am also amused by the 'I don't have to pay, except through taxes'  statement.
 
2013-11-07 01:48:54 PM  

Mikey1969: Sorry, dude... If I don't have health insurance and go in to find out why I'm pissing green pus, I'm going to get billed directly for all of the tests, even if they don't solve the problem.



If I go a soup kitchen and eat a meal, they can't stop me at the door and say "sorry we're low on staff today, we had to bring in some cooks from Boston Market, they'll be expecting your payment shortly".

In this case, that's exactly what happened, the free service (Surprise firefighters) requested resources from the expensive company (Rural Metro), and they're passing the bill on to the customer who had been told that the service had no additional cost.
 
2013-11-07 02:02:18 PM  

simusid: You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.

FWIW in MA, or at least in my town, volunteer FF are not paid for structure fires but they are paid for grass/forest fires.  It's not a lot though, definitely not $150/hour.


I wish I had gotten paid for those.

/brush fires in a Texas hill country summer are so not fun.
//1-2 structures a year, dozens of brush fires. Morons who set fire to their brush pile and then go inside for a beer.
 
2013-11-07 02:02:34 PM  

Gig103: What a freaking mess of a situation. My gut instinct was for him to STFU because he isn't paying taxes to support a fire department and wasn't complaining all those years of fire-free, low taxes. But then I kept reading and there was a vague reference to firefighting on his taxes, and the private company showed up after the city of Surprise responded.

The family's home insurance does not cover the charges.

That seems like a bad idea for someone in an area without a fire department. When I bought my house, I was asked on my homeowners insurance application the distance to the nearest responders - when he answered "There isn't one", you'd think the agent would have recommended some supplemental coverage. For all we know, they did and he declined it.



A lot of times people will say they are covered on the insurance, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

As far as the rural department being "second in,"  it sounds to me like Surprise was the mutual aid department they called for help, and since they city happened to be closer they got there first (in some areas mutual aid is automatic).  As a city department, they also don't get paid for covering anyone outside city limits, so mutual aid allows them to respond (in other words, it's still due to the rural department that they show up at all).

This could still be a non profit department,  subscription is a way to provide fire service without a voter approved fire service area,  it basically is a fire service area for individual houses and houses that aren't covered get treated differently in each area.   In some places they won't fight the fire at all, and some they will and send a bill.

This bill does seem rather high to me, but that is up to the department to decide what to charge and if the people don't like it they really need to either start their own or vote in a real fire service area that gets taxpayer funding.  If this is really a for profit department, then the bill starts to make a lot more sense.  But in that case, there's not really anything to blame them for either.  If they have a full time staff, that can add up quickly and a small number of fires per year can translate into very high costs to operate on a fire.

I personally would pay the $500 and at the same time work to start a local volunteer department if I lived in that area.

Where I live, we didn't have fire service at all until a few years ago, but now there is a volunteer department.  Ours is subscription based as well, although our rates are much lower... so far some insurers have required people to subscribe and others have said they will pay our fees in the event of a fire.  Seems to vary by the company.  So far no one has been denied coverage where I'm at.

//volunteer
 
2013-11-07 02:15:20 PM  

the ha ha guy: Mikey1969: Sorry, dude... If I don't have health insurance and go in to find out why I'm pissing green pus, I'm going to get billed directly for all of the tests, even if they don't solve the problem.


If I go a soup kitchen and eat a meal, they can't stop me at the door and say "sorry we're low on staff today, we had to bring in some cooks from Boston Market, they'll be expecting your payment shortly".

In this case, that's exactly what happened, the free service (Surprise firefighters) requested resources from the expensive company (Rural Metro), and they're passing the bill on to the customer who had been told that the service had no additional cost.


No, they had no "free service", they weren't covered by a municipal fire service at all. There is a tax that helps fund volunteer fire departments, but if you specifically live in an unincorporated area that has no fire service, you're farked, period. Happens all of the time. We pay taxes for a reason, and this is why. As for why anybody responded at all, I'm not sure, but it has happened before, and it's totally legal; if your house is on fire, and you're not in an area that pays for fire service(This is by choice, BTW. All hail our Tea Party stalwarts!!), they will come and watch your house burn to the ground, just to make sure it doesn't catch your neighbor's house on fire who DID pay for coverage.
 
2013-11-07 02:30:33 PM  

xanadian: Surprise, Arizona, huh?  Surprise, indeed.


s17.postimg.org
 
2013-11-07 02:37:24 PM  
Surprise sounds like a libertarian paradise.
 
2013-11-07 02:37:54 PM  

Mikey1969: No, they had no "free service", they weren't covered by a municipal fire service at all.



The Surprise firefighters showed up and got the fire under control, the only thing Rural metro did was "mop up".
 
2013-11-07 02:57:09 PM  

the ha ha guy: Mikey1969: No, they had no "free service", they weren't covered by a municipal fire service at all.


The Surprise firefighters showed up and got the fire under control, the only thing Rural metro did was "mop up".


And there is no reason that the Surprise firefighters should have been there, since(As I have stated), they had no municipal coverage. Rural Metro was only there because they got called by Surprise for some reason. I don't like Rural Metro anyway, but it still stands that this guy had ZERO "free service". Ironically enough, he could have paid Rural Metro $500/year and saved all of this mess. In other words, nothing is "free".

 But until that time, residents of this unincorporated area have few options: Buy a yearly $500 subscription from Rural Metro for fire coverage, take the gamble of getting a bill if they have a house fire, or form their own fire district which could take months.
 
2013-11-07 02:59:29 PM  

lilbjorn: Surprise sounds like a libertarian paradise.


Lots of places have this. People don't want to pay for fire coverage, so they refuse to incorporate, there were 2 home owners in the center of Tempe,Az  tat made this choice. When one of these houses burned, the FD was on hand to make sure it didn't spread. Normally these uncovered homes are in remote rural areas, but this is not anything new. There is nothing "free". A part of your taxes go to Fire coverage, and if you are going to be an A-hole and refuse to pay those taxes, you're gonna be in for a surprise, so to speak...
 
2013-11-07 03:31:15 PM  

lilbjorn: Surprise sounds like a libertarian paradise.


Not at all.  A proper libertarian wouldn't have a private company able to come in and bill somebody for a service they didn't want.  That's something the fascists would do except if you disagree they'll have the cops come and kick your door in because fark you that's why.  Kind of like how things are these days.
 
2013-11-07 03:46:09 PM  
I don't understand this FTA: "Before the incident area residents thought they had fire coverage because they were paying a 'fire district assistance tax.' But it turns out that that is a countywide tax that funds volunteer fire districts." Does this mean that residents, living in an unincorporated area that is not in a volunteer or other fire district, are paying a tax for a service that they will/do not receive? Wouldn't this be like paying a sewer tax, but not having a sewer?

If they aren't covered by a fire district, why did the Surprise station respond?

Finally, if, as some have stated, the only reason that Rural responded was to protect their paying customers, wouldn't their actions be covered by said paying customers' contracts?

I just don't see how the homeowner here is legally responsible for paying Rural anything.
 
2013-11-07 04:24:04 PM  
$20K does seem a tad excessive.
 
2013-11-07 04:53:43 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: ArkAngel: Buy a yearly $500 subscription from Rural Metro for fire coverage, take the gamble of getting a bill if they have a house fire, or form their own fire district which could take months.

Less sympathy because of this, though without a written contract detailing their agreements with neighboring fire districts (and given the size of the bill) Metro may be SOL

I pay a little less than $400 a year for city fire service according to my tax breakdown... $500 seems reasonable for low density countryside.


True but the residents were already paying a fire tax. The Metro subscription is IN ADDITION to the annual taxes...

Also keep in mind that the Metro FD is privately-owned, not city-owned.

Third, Metro were not the first responders to the fire. They were invited in by the local FD.

There is no way in hell that Metro has a legitimate claim to charge the homeowner.
 
2013-11-07 04:57:19 PM  

TheBigJerk: So...this might be news to some but fires spread.


There have been stories about private fire departments that show up and don't touch the house on fire, and are on-call in case it spread to one of their clients. I remember one guy had refused to pay $75/yr or $75/mo (either way, why not?) and was crying when they let his house burn down.

This is NOT that situation though.
 
2013-11-07 06:41:43 PM  

MycroftHolmes: fmk040: You have to pay for the farking fire department?!  WTF?  Is this a rural Arizona thing, or an 'America' thing?  North of the 49, we sure as hell don't pay the fire department except through taxes.

Someone please explain this 'paying for essential services' thing to me...I'm reeling for the sheer implausibility of it.

I am also amused by the 'I don't have to pay, except through taxes'  statement.


*Shrug* It's miniscule enough per person that it hardly matters; it's an after thought, as is my statement re: taxes.  I'd rather not field of accusations of being disingenuous.

Furthermore, how is paying for essential services outside of taxes even a thing?  A privatized fire department makes absolutely no sense to me.  There are some pretty remote areas in SK as well, but they have volunteer firefighters: the equipment and building is maintained through municipal taxes, but the firefighters sure as hell don't charge victims of a blaze.  That is among the most callous things I have heard.
 
2013-11-07 07:36:13 PM  

NickelP: hailin: I absolutely do not feel sorry for these people. We have morons outside of fire juridiction do this every year. The refuse to buy a fire service subscription and then pay for the cheapest home owners insurance they can which usually does not cover fire damage. Then they scream bloody hell when they have a fire, have it put out, and get charged for it. Fark you people. Fire subscriptions help pay for training, equipment, and staff while allowing you a fairly low rate ($250 a year here) to protect yourself. Not getting it and then biatching when a fire happens is an asshat move.

I'm also laughing the article makes it seem $150 an hour is excessive for the hourly pay. Firefighters have to go through rigirous trainings, keep themselves in shape, work long hours, continue their education and endanger themselves everytime they go out on a call. $150 an hour is fair in my opinion.

I thought this was funny too.  Most mechanics here charge close to that.  A lawyer starts around double that.  And you need a farking appointment to see either and they probably aren't going to come to you.


Well, they don't get paid that.  I'm guessing that is the fully burdened rate + overhead.
 
pla
2013-11-07 09:56:30 PM  
"Yeah, about that bill?  Put a lien on the house.  Oh, wait, you let it burn to the ground.  Enjoy taking ownership of that quarter acre of backfilled swampland."

More seriously, I have to wonder about the legality of this situation.  If the homeowner didn't directly contract with the third party, what right do they have to bill him?  I mean, I may have missed a seriously awesome career opportunity here - Break into people's houses, install a small LAN for them against their will, and then send them a bill for $1500/hr plus $500 per drop.  Win/Win!
 
pla
2013-11-07 10:04:48 PM  
Mikey1969 : There is a tax that helps fund volunteer fire departments, but if you specifically live in an unincorporated area that has no fire service, you're farked, period. Happens all of the time. We pay taxes for a reason

So you pay (fire) taxes...
For "a reason"...
So VOLUNTEERS...
That don't serve your area...
Can... Um...
...Um...

Um.

Yeah, I can't quite get that to reach any sort of sane conclusion.  Someone want to help me out (for under $20k) here?
 
2013-11-07 10:14:28 PM  

pla: Mikey1969 : There is a tax that helps fund volunteer fire departments, but if you specifically live in an unincorporated area that has no fire service, you're farked, period. Happens all of the time. We pay taxes for a reason

So you pay (fire) taxes...
For "a reason"...
So VOLUNTEERS...
That don't serve your area...
Can... Um...
...Um...

Um.

Yeah, I can't quite get that to reach any sort of sane conclusion.  Someone want to help me out (for under $20k) here?


There has to be a volunteer fire department established in the area. They don't appear by default. The funding is there so that if a volunteer fire department is formed, they have some money available. They point is that they DON'T pay fire taxes, that is a tax that exists for everyone, but unincorporated areas can choose NOT to have actual fire coverage. Individual homeowners have even refused to become incorporated to avoid some of these taxesANd some of them have watched their homes burn, right alongside the firefighters they were too "Independent" to pay).

Is it really that deep of a concept?
 
2013-11-07 10:18:35 PM  

fmk040: You have to pay for the farking fire department?!  WTF?  Is this a rural Arizona thing, or an 'America' thing?  North of the 49, we sure as hell don't pay the fire department except through taxes.

Someone please explain this 'paying for essential services' thing to me...I'm reeling for the sheer implausibility of it.


Yes, when you live in an area that is NOT covered by a fire department, you do. People fight incorporation all of the time, just so they don't have to pay the increase in taxes. This, incidentally, includes fire services, but they don't care.

Until their house burns down

And no, it's not an "essential service". Staying alive is, and the firefighters will do their best to get you out of your house, but there is nothing "essential" about keeping your property intact.
 
2013-11-07 10:27:00 PM  
 
2013-11-07 10:33:33 PM  

stappawho: NickelP: hailin: I absolutely do not feel sorry for these people. We have morons outside of fire juridiction do this every year. The refuse to buy a fire service subscription and then pay for the cheapest home owners insurance they can which usually does not cover fire damage. Then they scream bloody hell when they have a fire, have it put out, and get charged for it. Fark you people. Fire subscriptions help pay for training, equipment, and staff while allowing you a fairly low rate ($250 a year here) to protect yourself. Not getting it and then biatching when a fire happens is an asshat move.

I'm also laughing the article makes it seem $150 an hour is excessive for the hourly pay. Firefighters have to go through rigirous trainings, keep themselves in shape, work long hours, continue their education and endanger themselves everytime they go out on a call. $150 an hour is fair in my opinion.

I thought this was funny too.  Most mechanics here charge close to that.  A lawyer starts around double that.  And you need a farking appointment to see either and they probably aren't going to come to you.

Well, they don't get paid that.  I'm guessing that is the fully burdened rate + overhead.


Even then, I suspect at 20k a pop they either don't face that many fires, or they're extorting.

OR, they stick folk with the bill as part of a negotiating tactic similar to, "I'll sue you out of house and home even though I'm in the wrong unless you settle out of court."
 
2013-11-08 12:00:36 AM  

fmk040: MycroftHolmes: fmk040: You have to pay for the farking fire department?!  WTF?  Is this a rural Arizona thing, or an 'America' thing?  North of the 49, we sure as hell don't pay the fire department except through taxes.

Someone please explain this 'paying for essential services' thing to me...I'm reeling for the sheer implausibility of it.

I am also amused by the 'I don't have to pay, except through taxes'  statement.

*Shrug* It's miniscule enough per person that it hardly matters; it's an after thought, as is my statement re: taxes.  I'd rather not field of accusations of being disingenuous.

Furthermore, how is paying for essential services outside of taxes even a thing?  A privatized fire department makes absolutely no sense to me.  There are some pretty remote areas in SK as well, but they have volunteer firefighters: the equipment and building is maintained through municipal taxes, but the firefighters sure as hell don't charge victims of a blaze.  That is among the most callous things I have heard.


You are stuck in some kind of weird cycle where you think that paying a fee and paying taxes to cover services are different.  That is why I found your Weeners amusing.

Essentially, fee for service is like tax for service, except you have the option to opt in or out.  Not sure why this is even remotely objectionable to you, but hey, some people prefer to pay more taxes and forego options.  I guess it takes all sorts.
 
2013-11-08 12:23:01 AM  
But Justin was in for another shock when two weeks later he received a bill from Rural Metro Fire Department, a private department, charging him ...
... The family's home insurance does not cover the charges....
Arizona State Senator Chester Crandell admitted that fire coverage in Arizona's rural areas is a mess ...
....residents of this unincorporated area have few options: Buy a yearly $500 subscription from Rural Metro for fire coverage, take the gamble of getting a bill if they have a house fire, or form their own fire district which could take months.


You know what would solve this?

That's right:

Eliminate capital-gains, inheritance, and corporate taxes. And scrap progressive income taxes in favor of flat taxes.
And funnel, via vouchers, all taxes for local schools through private, for-profit, unaccountable entrepreneurs ... come to think of it, universally place job-creating hard-nosed businessmen between the government collectors of taxes and the citizen taxpayers that money was collected to serve - they'll find innovative ways of extractive all of it into their own bank accounts heroically saving the public from becoming welfare-dependent leeches.

Oh - and deregulate all the things.
 
2013-11-08 06:48:00 AM  
Surprise firefighters leave surprise bill

Should have been OBVIOUS
 
2013-11-08 12:32:03 PM  

You're the jerk... jerk: Dufus: .

/served 22 years as a volunteer fireman and never got paid a cent

Is that common? I was talking to a volunteer firefighter the other day and they said they were in fact paid when called into service.


Probably not any more, depends on the department. Ours was a full volunteer financed by donations only until around 1979.
It was a poor department and we did it because it had to be done. We had home built (fitted) trucks with tanks made for us by a nearby shipyard and donated. It wasn't unusual for several of us to buy our own gear.
 
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