Castle Hills Fire Department bills teen for accident cleanup

Fire chief: Department only bills non-Castle Hills residents

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio teenager got a $2,100 bill for services rendered from the Castle Hills Fire Department following an accident this summer.

The invoice was not for EMS treatment or transport, rather for cleanup that included brooms and shovels.

Todd Beaman's mother, Oma Beaman, remembers details of the day it happened, June 21.

"Three trucks responded. The firefighters asked everyone if they were all right and then cleaned up the debris from the roadway. They swept it up and threw it into the back of our truck," Oma Beaman said.

According to Oma Beaman, her son caused the accident and as a result, their insurance company covered all the usual costs.

"The property damage, the vehicles, the towing services," Oma Beaman said.

This week, Todd Beaman got an invoice for costs incurred by the Castle Hills Fire Department.

Among the charges: three shovels at $25 each and three brooms, also $25 a piece.

"It may not be specifically for that piece of equipment, but for the manpower to use those things," said Castle Hills Police Chief, Jerry Riedel.

More than five years ago, the City Council voted to approve an ordinance that allows the Fire Department to recover costs.

Riedel said they only charge non-Castle Hills residents.

"We have found that there's a lot of pass-through activity on mainly Interstate 410 and it is not residents of Castle Hills. We're trying just to recoup some of the losses to make it equitable," Riedel said.

The ordinance also states the invoice must go out within 30 days, but the Beamans said they got the bill more than four months after the accident.

"We have a third-party billing company. We turn them in as we can get to them. They forward them on so I don't have exact knowledge of this particular bill," Riedel said, assuring KSAT he would look into it.