Edmonton fire department sends man $13K bill after home destroyed
The Edmonton fire department sent a man a nearly $13,000 bill after they responded to a fire that destroyed his home last fall.
In October, Woytek Stachowski’s home in the city’s south east was engulfed in flames, which resulted in extensive damage. He was in the process of submitting his insurance claim when he received a surprising invoice from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services about a month after the fire.
The invoice was for almost $13,000 and included a list of firefighting items, such as $2,200 for a vacuum truck, $285 for work lights, and extension cords and even $19 for the carbon tax.
“I said maybe by mistake this came to me,” he told CTV Edmonton. “It’s not insurance paying, they ask me to pay.”
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the bill was because the insulation Stachowski used in his house tends to smolder for hours and it required extra work to put out the fire.
“The cost on this invoice was for cellulose insulation removal, which is necessary to mitigate risk,” said a spokesperson from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.
Fire officials also said that in order to declare the fire put out, they had to hire a contractor to pull down the insulation. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services deals with similar insulation several times a month and said it can lead to them sending invoices ranging from $11,000 to $13,000.
But Stachowski argued, “if this happened on a regular basis, they should be prepared for this.”
Stachowski said dealing with city collections for the bill has been confusing and frustrating.
“I think as a taxpayer I shouldn’t get this at all,” he said.
His local city councillor Mike Nickel agreed.
“If you’re paying taxes, isn’t that for firefighting? So why are they sending out a bill?” he told CTV Edmonton.
Edmonton fire officials told CTV Edmonton that insurance companies typically pay for the extra work the hired contractor does to remove the insulation. But more recently, Edmonton fire has received push back and has had to forward the costs to homeowners.
In Stachowski’s case, his insurance company has offered to pay the $13,000 bill, but they told him it’ll be deducted from his overall settlement.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said homeowners should find out what their insurance policies will cover.