Drivers involved in a 16-vehicle pileup in Alberta have been billed more than $15,000 to go toward the costs of firefighters who responded to the scene.

One person was killed in the December 2017 vehicle pileup near Fox Creek, Alta.

Michele Demyen says she received a bill of $930 because her vehicle was involved in the collision, even though she didn’t require firefighter assistance.

“I was quite surprised that the government is asking the public to pay for what has always been seen as a public service,” she told CTV Edmonton.

Municipal fire departments in Alberta are able to bill the province for costs related to collisions on provincial highways. The government’s insurance company can then turn to drivers involved in the collision to recoup the money, although experts say this is typically done through insurance companies rather than by sending bills directly to drivers.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation said the ministry would reach out to Demyen and offer her options for waiving the fee, given her circumstances.

With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett