YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Big changes are coming to the Youngstown Fire Department next month that could affect you — it will start charging for some rescue services.
Getting into an accident or having to be rescued by Youngstown firefighters could cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for some. This only applies to people who do not live in Youngstown.
It is part of Youngstown’s contract with Fire Recovery USA to seek collection for certain services.
“There were opportunities for departments to charge insurance companies for those clean-up and pick-ups,” said Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown.
City council finalized the 4-3 vote in November.
Twenty percent of the money will be going to Fire Recovery USA and the city will keep 80%.
“It’s going directly back into the fire division, the fire department,” Brown said. “The chief has a long-term goal of things about training and development, so we want to make sure those dollars come right back into the department.”
Here’s a breakdown of some of those charges:
– A normal car accident will cost $487
– That increases to $677 if the car is on fire
– If you’re trapped in the car and need tools to get out, it jumps to $1,461
– Hazardous material clean-up costs $554
– Swift water rescues cost $448, plus a $56 per person charge for each first responder
But that’s not all. There’s also a $448 per hour charge for each engine, plus a miscellaneous fee of $336 for car accidents.
Even though these are enormous numbers, some people in surrounding areas think this is a good thing.
“It gives more accountability and responsibility to the drivers. So if they cause the problem, they cause the accident, I think they should be responsible for that,” a shopper in Boardman said.
The way it works is the department will bill your insurance company, then people may be responsible for what insurance doesn’t cover.
Even though there is a clause in the contract for charging for fires, the city says it has no plans to enforce it.
“That’s what the chief wants,” Brown said. “He wants to make sure we have top-of-the-line equipment to make sure we can continue to provide a quality service for the citizens of Youngstown and that the lives in the community are safe.”
We reached out to Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley but he did not want to comment.