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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter was driving her 99 528i back to school one day and her A/C Compressor decides its time to blow itself up. Long story short the r134 vents out the comressor, hits the exhaust manifold and makes a big cloud of smoke. My daughter pulls over and calls me.

I'm assessing the situation and figure she's either blown the glorious radiator, or the AC is shot. She calls me back and tells me the fire department and highway patrol have arrived. Some "Good Samaritan" driving by called 911 and told them the car was on fire.

Now I have a $350 fire dpartment bill. How can this be my responsibility when we did not initiate the call and there was not fire?

Anyone with a legal background have any thoughts?
 

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Keeping it surreal
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I`m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on television :), but I would think that since the emergency call was placed by a third party, unknown to you, you shouln`t have to bear the responsibility for their "service"....you never requested their help.
 

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NHTSA Nazi
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I`m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on television :), but I would think that since the emergency call was placed by a third party, unknown to you, you shouln`t have to bear the responsibility for their "service"....you never requested their help.
Depends on state law. Try calling the fire department and ask them - use the non-emergency number though.
 

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Depends on state law. Try calling the fire department and ask them - use the non-emergency number though.
Calling an agancy (*any* agency) and asking them if their policies are legal or justified is pretty much self-defeating....they usually don`t know any more about the legal aspect than you do....ask your lawyer to get a definitive answer....
 

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<- Bailey
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My daughter was driving her 99 528i back to school one day and her A/C Compressor decides its time to blow itself up. Long story short the r134 vents out the comressor, hits the exhaust manifold and makes a big cloud of smoke. My daughter pulls over and calls me.

I'm assessing the situation and figure she's either blown the glorious radiator, or the AC is shot. She calls me back and tells me the fire department and highway patrol have arrived. Some "Good Samaritan" driving by called 911 and told them the car was on fire.

Now I have a $350 fire dpartment bill. How can this be my responsibility when we did not initiate the call and there was not fire?

Anyone with a legal background have any thoughts?
IMO, I would look at the citation of the law that says they can do this. I would also look to see how you can appeal the ruling. Don't just pay the bill, but show up where they want you to show up, and protest the charge.
 

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<- Bailey
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Check your auto insurance policy if you can't get the charges waived/lowered. But don't spend too much time on this, those types of charges are almost impossible to get waived.
 

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No more M
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My daughter was driving her 99 528i back to school one day and her A/C Compressor decides its time to blow itself up. Long story short the r134 vents out the comressor, hits the exhaust manifold and makes a big cloud of smoke. My daughter pulls over and calls me.

I'm assessing the situation and figure she's either blown the glorious radiator, or the AC is shot. She calls me back and tells me the fire department and highway patrol have arrived. Some "Good Samaritan" driving by called 911 and told them the car was on fire.

Now I have a $350 fire dpartment bill. How can this be my responsibility when we did not initiate the call and there was not fire?

Anyone with a legal background have any thoughts?
R134 is toxic and a safety hazard when exposed like that :dunno:
 

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R134 is toxic and a safety hazard when exposed like that :dunno:
So WHAT ???? Nobody knew that *before the fact*, and is certainly not the reason why the FD was summoned.... they have absolutely no legitimate grounds to bill the motorist for this response.....
(and furthermore, as far as the R134 leak goes, it was all over long before the FD showed up, so there was nothing to do about it anyway)
 

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Htd Seats = 4-season vert
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what sort of craphole town is it that charges citizens for legitimate emergency services? isn't that what taxes are for?

sending a rescue bill to idiots who try to cross flooded roads is one thing... but a fd bill for a burning car? wtf?

(and yes, i realize your car wasn't actually on fire, but the leak was still an unintentional act).

:mad:
/rant.
 

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Freedom isn't free!!
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My daughter was driving her 99 528i back to school one day and her A/C Compressor decides its time to blow itself up. Long story short the r134 vents out the comressor, hits the exhaust manifold and makes a big cloud of smoke. My daughter pulls over and calls me.

I'm assessing the situation and figure she's either blown the glorious radiator, or the AC is shot. She calls me back and tells me the fire department and highway patrol have arrived. Some "Good Samaritan" driving by called 911 and told them the car was on fire.

Now I have a $350 fire dpartment bill. How can this be my responsibility when we did not initiate the call and there was not fire?

Anyone with a legal background have any thoughts?
Have you called and inquired? I'm sure given the circumstances they will dismiss the charge. If they don't then you need to take it up the chain of command. If they get snotty or dig in their heels, this is the kind of story your local media will love.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Appreciate everyone's input. Here's an update.

I sent a letter asking them to explain how we played a part in their response as we did not make the call, did not have a fire, did not have an accident, but simply had a vehicle malfunction.

The response was nothing more than a list of the times and actions taken when a "cell phone call for a vehicle fire" came in. They "believe it is correct and proper that they submit me a bill for their services rendered."

I'm trying to figure out how the actions of others constitues a contract between us and the City of St. Peter?

I'll check into Minnesota Statute, section 366.011 and see what it indicates. Thanks for the input and please let me know if you have any other ideas.

By the way, I work for the insurance company that provides my coverage and have discussed with my claims department. There is no insurable event, thus no reason for them to pay it.
 

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Appreciate everyone's input. Here's an update.

I sent a letter asking them to explain how we played a part in their response as we did not make the call, did not have a fire, did not have an accident, but simply had a vehicle malfunction.

The response was nothing more than a list of the times and actions taken when a "cell phone call for a vehicle fire" came in. They "believe it is correct and proper that they submit me a bill for their services rendered."

I'm trying to figure out how the actions of others constitues a contract between us and the City of St. Peter?


I'll check into Minnesota Statute, section 366.011 and see what it indicates. Thanks for the input and please let me know if you have any other ideas.

By the way, I work for the insurance company that provides my coverage and have discussed with my claims department. There is no insurable event, thus no reason for them to pay it.
I think you'll get this worked out. But their response to your letter would be great fodder for your local media if it comes to that.
 

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So WHAT ???? Nobody knew that *before the fact*, and is certainly not the reason why the FD was summoned.... they have absolutely no legitimate grounds to bill the motorist for this response.....
(and furthermore, as far as the R134 leak goes, it was all over long before the FD showed up, so there was nothing to do about it anyway)
The car was smoking like crazy, the FD showed up. I don't see anything wrong about that. If i were the OP i would be happy that someone noticed and the FD showed up. There are all kinds of scenarios that could have happened.

What if the girl was still in the car and the R134 got into the passenger compartment? It might be enough to knock people out, or worse. So even though there was no fire, id still be happy that they showed up.

Just my 2c.
 

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Quick google search revealed this: http://yarchive.net/ac/r134a_lethal.html

MSDS sheet: http://ww2.ramapo.edu/libfiles/HR/Environmental_Health_and_Safety/MSDS/Facilities/HVAC/134a.pdf

Im not a sealed systems expert by any means, but i imagine the probability of a leak occurring in the first place is low and even then there has to be a certain concentration.
And here's what my Google search turned up.

Safety


"Tetrafluoroethane itself has an LC50 (lethal concentration for 50% of subjects) in rats of 1,500 g/m³, making it relatively non-toxic. However, its gaseous form is denser than air, and will displace air in the lungs. This can result in asphyxiation if excessively inhaled.[11][12]"

Uses


"Other uses include plastic foam blowing, as a cleaning solvent and as a propellant for the delivery of pharmaceuticals (e.g. bronchodilators), gas dusters, and in air driers, for removing the moisture from compressed air."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane

The point is none of the scenarios you propose applied in this situation and if a stranger called the fire department without having adequate knowledge of the situation there is no reason the party who did not call for help should be financially liable for the fire department's response.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update - I spoke with the city that is billing us for this. Bottom line is they are looking for insurance $$ to pay for this. Since there is no covered claim here all I need to do is get a denial from my insurance company and send it to them. Case closed.

Since I work for my insurance company this should be pretty easy to do.

Thanks everyone for your input.
 

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That just seems to be a bizarre policy to me. I wonder how they'd respond if you applied the same policy to them? You could show up with gardening equipment, mow their lawn, then hand them a bill stating that somebody told you their lawn needed mowing and that you believe it's proper and correct that they repay you for your services.

Like has been said, I'm all for them charging to rescue the dolts that try to drive across flooded roads or call the police because the McDonald's was out of McNugget sauce. Charging you because somebody else called for a non-emergency though? It seems to me that it's a good way to discourage legitimate calls, not the wastes of time...
 

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I`m not a lawyer (nor do I play one on television :), but I would think that since the emergency call was placed by a third party, unknown to you, you shouln`t have to bear the responsibility for their "service"....you never requested their help.
Along those lines of thinking:

1. You get clobbered by truck; you are unconscious. Someone else calls 911. Who pays for that call?

2. You arrive at emergency room. As soon as you go through the door, you die. You did not request help from ER, or from anyone else? Who gets billed? DOAs are billed for a one day stay.

3. You collapse in your dr. office. EMS transports you to ER. Who pays related expenses?

Pretty clear to me; this process has been happening for a hundred years +.
 
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