Sunday, June 2, 2013

Times-News: Jerome Fire Bill 'Travesty,' 'Spiteful' and 'Embarrassment'

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM

This morning's Twin Falls Times-News included a blistering editorial, ripping the city of Jerome for billing one of its residents nearly $97,000 for a fire, the biggest in Jerome's history, which started in an apartment building and destroyed several nearby structures. The bill also threatened the woman, Sylvia Moore, that she would be assessed 20 percent interest if the bill wasn't paid by June 21.

Moore owned a building where a tenant had left a hot glue gun on a plastic chair, triggering the blaze.

The bill came after Jerome Fire Chief Jack Krill called the fire "accidental," and included the payroll costs of Jerome firefighters and police in addition to equipment costs and food consumed by first responders.

The Times-News calls the bill a "travesty after a tragedy."

While the city of Jerome quickly rescinded the bill once it was made public by local media, the Times-News reports that internal emails revealed that "it was more of a public relations mistake" and that the initial bill "seemed very much intentional. And spiteful. And an embarrassment to the leaders of Jerome."

"Slapping someone who lost everything with a huge bill for doing what the fire department is already paid to do, with equipment the city has already paid for, doesn't add up," wrote the Times-News.

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