Opp firemen to bill for response

Published 12:02 am Friday, September 10, 2010

The Opp Fire Department will soon be able to recoup some of the money it spends to help provide assistance to local residents, Fire Chief Joey Williams said Thursday.

The Opp City Council Tuesday voted to allow the fire department to bill insurance companies when they work a traffic accident or a structure fire.

“When we respond to a structure fire, we’ll bill for the men and the trucks,” he said. “Whatever insurance company the victims have will pay.”

Williams said the fire department is in negotiation of the amount it will bill the insurance companies; however, the insurance companies will pay what they want.

“What we bill really won’t matter,” he said. “(The insurance companies) have a set charge for what they will pay.

“It’s just something we found out that most everyone’s rider will pay up to $500 to fire departments,” he said. “It’s not going to cost the homeowner anything.”

While $500 may not seem like much, Williams said it will be used for upkeep on the fire department’s equipment and allow them to keep up-to-date equipment for families’ safety.

Williams said OFD typically works 50 structure fires per year.

With that the department has the potential to recoup at least $25,000 a year on structure fires alone.

“The main thing is to maintain our equipment,” he said. “We do the Jaws work. We currently have two tools that are torn up. One of them will cost $1,500 to repair.”

“Any way we can help benefit the citizens, keep the latest equipment and stronger materials, it’s worth it,” he said.