A bill passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor places limits on when a volunteer fire department may impose fees for incidents involving chemical or hazardous materials.
The new law – HB1365 – provides that a fire department may not charge a fee to an individual resident of a local unit if the fire department is funded by property tax revenue of the unit or by a contract with that unit. There is an exception imbedded in the statute for where the hazardous materials “poses an imminent threat to persons or property.”
The statute also allows the recovery of fees only by the first fire department to respond to the call. Subsequent responders may not charge fees to the individual residents. The statue does, however, allow the fire department to recover its attorney fees and costs for any attempts to collect the fees imposed under the statute.