College Station Fire Department Wants To Bill Customers For Certain Emergency Calls

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The College Station Fire Department will soon start billing people for expenses if they are at fault in accidents.

It was a plan presented to the College Station City Council Thursday evening and passed 6-1.

Now some customers will be on the hook for emergency services.

When an accident happens who should pay?

The College Station Fire Department is looking at sending out a bill for services using a company that Bryan and Brazos County Volunteer Fire Departments use.

It's caused headlines before.

"It's $14,650. We were billed per minute, per truck," said Angela Piper during a January 28, 2010 interview.

Piper spoke with us in January 2010 after the Revenue Rescue billing company sent her and her husband a bill after their Brazos County house was struck by lightning and destroyed.

The Brazos County Precinct 3 Volunteer Fire Department said it was a misunderstanding and the bill was dismissed.

Since the incident the Pipers have continued to support and even donated to their local volunteer fire department.

"We're working towards making sure the system is set up and ready to roll and we hope to not have any issues like that occur," said College Station Fire Chief R.B. Alley III.

Alley is hoping the College Station City Council will also start using Revenue Rescue as costs continue to go up and funding gets harder to come by.

Under the proposal customers could be billed if someone is negligent or it's the result of criminal activity.

"The insurance company may be contacted to recoup some of the cost but also if an individual is doing something illegal say they're driving under the influence and causing major accidents, not only could insurance companies but the individuals themselves could be responsible," Alley added.

The CSFD averages around 7,000 calls a year and estimates 400 of those calls would be billed bringing in another $126,000 a year in funds.

"We're gonna respond to these kind of calls anyway when someone dials 911... If there was a situation where the responsible party causes an accident there's an avenue we can use to replenish our resources so that we can respond to the next call," Alley said.

Last year Revenue Rescue brought in $39,410.51 for the City of Bryan.

The City of Bryan only bills insurance companies, not individuals.

The plan was presented to the College Station City Council during workshop Thursday afternoon before being approved that evening.

We're told the typical bill would average between $300 and $500.

The program is expected to go in place by late spring or early summer.