Talk about insult to injury: After the Purcells’ mobile home burned to the ground the couple received a hefty bill from the responding fire department. Fortunately, the couple was out of their home when it happened, but this plus a baby on the way means that they’re pretty much screwed. The “Yeah? Suck it!” attitude from the fire department isn’t helping things.
Two weeks later, on Aug. 27, the couple received a bill from Rural Metro Fire Department for $19,825. The bill included charges of $1,500 per fire truck and $150 dollars per hour for firefighters.
Justin Purcell said he was shocked by the bill and did not understand why he was receiving it, considering he and other local residents pay a fire district assistance tax to help fund volunteer fire departments. However, that tax, he soon learned, does not cover Rural Metro Fire Department because it is an independent agency.
The Purcells’ next step was to contact their insurance company.
“I was told by our insurance company that they don’t cover fire departments in county areas,” Justin Purcell said. “I asked our insurance [representative] what the typical city fire department charges them and he said he had never seen a bill for anything over five or six thousand dollars.”
Contacted by HuffPost on Monday, Colin Williams, the public information officer for Rural Metro, said the bill is justified.
“This family, like many others, elected to not pay their annual fire service bill,” Williams said in an email. “Others in their area pay Rural/Metro for fire protection.”