Private Firefighting Company Charges Family $20,000 After Home Burns Down

randfdTalk 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.

Via HuffPo:

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.”

Keep reading.

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  • Conspiracy Carrot

    Pay for protection. Just like the mob! Remember those pigs that let a family’s house burn down with their 3 dogs and cats inside? http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39516346/ Fuck this shitty species.

    • Calypso_1

      I’m loathe to consider the home fire stats on those households who ” elected to not pay their annual fire service bill” vs. “Others in their area [who] pay … for fire protection”.

  • Andrew

    I’m for private property, but wealth is power, and if everything is privatized the wealthy will always be able to control, oppress, and keep the poor poor. Everybody should have property, but not everything should be property.

    • Airl

      I agree – however, with our opinion come tough questions. The ones I often ponder are what is required for initial acquisition of property, and what happens when all property is taken but not all people possess property.

    • kowalityjesus

      an individual’s upward mobility should not be a function of the clemency of those with large material wealth.

  • Calypso_1

    I’m aware of locales, even though full municipalities w/taxes that pay for fire services, in which you will receive a visit from the friendly neighborhood fire inspector/code enforcer/sheriff’s deputy/city council man/church deacon who will tell you that the fire dept is voluntary and that you must make an annual contribution to receive any emergency response. In exchange you get a free family photo (which they simply can’t understand why you would decline) down at city hall and a campaign button for the mayor who has run unopposed for 6 terms.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Capitalism. A fancy window dressing for extortion.

    • Unlicensed Dremel

      That’s not capitalism unless the homeowners signed a contract agreeing to this – you think they did?

  • Punctuated Colon

    Left speechless by the lack of basic care the American peoples get from their alleged “Government”

    So what do your taxes get used for? Cocaine for obama?

    • Juan

      Our taxes are used to murder innocent, poor brown people, women and children mostly, all over the world, that and trillions were given to the banks that tanked the global economy. Also, prisons.
      ‘Murika!

    • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

      parking lots, invasions, air pollution, beach replenishment, the war on whatever, the search for habitable planets to move to after we’ve trashed this one, bureaucrats, junk mail, photo opportunities, big buildings full of idiots, more invasions, flags, pepper spray, lawyers, excuses, the information super tollway, child abuse, more invasions… are you feeling neglected because we haven’t invaded you yet? If you’re Canadian, sorry, it already happened, you just didn’t notice.

  • Haystack

    How does that work? If you don’t pay me for sidewalk sweeping service, but I see that your sidewalk is dusty, can I (unsuccessfully) sweep it while you’re away and charge you $20,000?

    • Jonas Planck

      I’m a Cohaagen capitalist. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to charge people money for oxygen, but as yet, I’ve had no success. It’s probably because the stuff is so plentiful here on the planet’s surface. Forced scarcity models won’t work here, because that could easily be misinterpreted as deliberate mass genocide, what with all the resulting dead people and such. However, as the bottled water industry has demonstrated, a little clever branding can easily trick people into paying for stuff they already get for free. I just need some clever marketing and some startup capital. It looks like you already have a fiscally sound business plan laid out… Can I borrow a hundred grand in exchange for 5% share?

      • Haystack

        I’m a little cash poor right now, but I could offer you 5 sidewalk sweepings in trade–a $100,000 value. That includes the fees for one broom, one dust pan, and removal.

        Incidentally, I noticed that your sidewalk was dirty this morning and tried to sweep it. Please speak with my business office to arrange payment.

        • Jonas Planck

          Can you accept payment in air?

      • Dingbert
      • Calypso_1

        I have just the thing for you old boy! The latest in hipster bottled purety trends, charging for the air & mass genocide with the right marketing it will be as easy as the cinnamon challenge, save the planet, etc
        …the answer is dehydrated water.
        for the purest of drinking beverages $$$
        a little H, a little more O BAM!

      • Conspiracy Carrot

        Giff dem da aiyah!

  • InfvoCuernos

    Nothing new here. private fire companies have been around for ever. There’s even a scene with two competing companies fighting in The Gangs of New York. One of the reasons the local governments took over fire protection was due to many cases of fires being intentionally set by fire companies in order to induce people to pay. Its not proper “mob protection” unless you break a couple of legs every now and then. I am a little surprised this is still happening, but not really. Makes you wonder why anyone would think private prisons would be a good idea. Also, makes me wonder why private medical attention seems ok, when its obviously just as crooked as this shit.

  • alizardx

    There are reasons for fire departments as a tax-funded service. Imagine living next door to a property that hasn’t paid protection money to a private fire department and that department letting it burn… and having that fire spread in all directions.

    • kowalityjesus

      actually there was an article on newsoftheweird.com that described a situation where a person had not paid the paltry tax for the local fire department, and when their house was burning, the fire department was on hand but only to prevent the fire from spreading to other houses. brutal, but they took that risk.

  • Cortacespedes

    Can these stories please stop with the gratuitous Ayn Rand photos.

    They’re making me nauseous.

    Hilarious tho they may be, I might vomit.

    • Dingbert

      At least, after two or so posts, I believe every photograph of Ayn Rand smiling has been exhausted.

  • Jonas Planck

    I’m getting kind of tired of these articles using pictures of Ayn Rand to illustrate incidents of rampant crony capitalism. She learned her lesson when the institute she created to combat collectivism kicked her out for not being a loyal enough member of their collective. She came full circle, became one of the monsters she had spent her life fighting, and finally met the same tragic fate as one of those douchebag protagonists in her preachy novels. I’d think that if she were still alive, she’d recant her fanatical devotion to anarcho-capitalism in favor of a more nuanced approach to philosophy, one less colored by her childhood tragedies, and perhaps finally admit that property “redistributing” thugs come in all different flavors of ideology, not just leftist.
    Instead, I would suggest using a picture of Terry Goodkind. That guy hasn’t come full circle yet. He probably thinks that his Sword of Truth TV show failed where Game of Thrones succeeded because of a vast Hollywood liberal conspiracy. (spoilers: it’s because his characters are one-dimensional and wholly symbolic, he couldn’t illustrate his ideas without relying on plot devices like powerful magic relics and Deus ex Machina ass-pulls to represent modern parallels, and Bruce Spence is just creepy looking, never meant to play a good guy.)

    • Jonas Planck

      Jeez, Terry, you didn’t have to vote me down! I tried to keep my critique constructive! They were actually quite enjoyable books from just an adventure fiction standpoint.

    • Unlicensed Dremel

      Amen & hear hear.

  • Johnny Utah

    At least some lawyers don’t charge you unless you win.