Port Colborne Fire to start billing insurance companies for services

The Port Colborne Fire Department will now be billing insurance companies to recoup some of the cost of fighting fires.

"Everybody should understand first of all that almost all insurance policies for houses have this already within their policies," Port Colborne Fire Chief Tom Cartwright tells CKTB's Tim Denis. "There's a provision within their policies that provides money for fire department fees. It's just a case of there being a reluctance to try and collect it."

Cartwright says the department will only bill insurance companies if the homeowner makes an insurance claim. 

He also understands that to many people, this may seem odd given that a portion of tax dollars goes to the fire department.

"The reality is your tax dollars put a fire department in a position to come and deal with it, but when you actually use the service, in some people's mind there should be fee. Because you've used it whereas I'm paying for having it ready to help, but not necessarily ever using it."

The money will be used to offset the cost of equipment, vehicles, and the wages of the firefighters.