POLSON – A northwestern Montana fire chief says he wants to start charging drivers responsible for accidents a fee when local fire departments are called to respond.
John Fairchild is the chief of both the Polson Volunteer Fire Department and the Polson Rural Fire Department.
He tells the Missoulian the fee is needed in the face of rising costs and falling budgets.
He says fees could be collected by Missoula-based Solestone Reimbursement Services, which would charge an 8 percent commission.
Fees might range from $435 up to $2,200 for accidents where a person must be extracted from a vehicle using Jaws of Life equipment.
Fairchild says the fees are justified because taxpayers pay for fire protection, not department responses to vehicle accidents.
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