First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Mop-Up Doesn’t Come Cheap, Ya’ Know


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Homeowner Charged For Total Loss "Mop Up"

A SURPRISE, ARIZONA, FAMILY WAS REALLY surprised when they received a bill for $20,000 from Rural Metro, the FD that took care of the mop-up operations following the total loss of their house when it burned down in August.

surprise a ksazNobody on the scene yet, but just wait until it's
time for overhaul and mop-up.  (KSAZ-TV)

The Purcell family lives in an unincorporated area in what is technically called an "island," an area surrounded by territory that has fire protection coverage but none of its own.  When their house caught fire, the Surprise FD responded and knocked the fire down and then left after the Rural Metro units arrived and began the mop-up actions.

Two weeks later R-M sent them a bill for $19,825 that included $1,500 per hour for two firetrucks and $150 hr. for each of the six firefighters they brought with them.

It was explained to the Purcells and their neighbors that since they are in a non-protected area they could have purchased a subscription for fire protection for $500 annually, but they had balked at that thinking that their property tax bill that had a "fire district assistance tax" covered that.  It turns out that the tax is a county-wide fee collected from everybody to fund volunteer fire departments but their community does not have one, only the tax for it.

surprise b ksazThe Purcells had fire insurance on their home, but it
doesn't cover the response fees from the FD's

KSAZ-TV posted this video report from Surprise:


It's a mess that has been a chronic problem in Arizona where some areas are still living in the old West of the 19th century.  Read the full story as told by KSAZ-TV HERE.

Thanks to Mark D.

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