Firefighters in overtime from ice rescues, but who pays for it? - WNEM TV 5

Firefighters in overtime from ice rescues, but who pays for it?

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There is a fierce debate over ice rescues after crews had to save four more people on the Saginaw Bay.

The US Coast Guard said there have been 12 rescue operations and two deaths on the bay since Jan. 1.

>>Listen to 911 ice rescue calls<<

Residents are voicing frustrations as temperatures have been above freezing and state and local officials have warned families to not go out on frozen waterways.

“When it is known that the ice isn’t safe people should stay off the ice. It’s frustrating to me because I know the inevitable will happen,” Bangor Township Fire Chief Rob Glen said.

The Bangor Township Fire Department was involved in two ice rescues Friday morning at Bay City state park. Glen said the rescues aren’t cheap.

“10 people on overtime, four duty crew members, three fire trucks, a chief’s car, an ambulance. It costs money to operate that system,” Glenn said.

But he plans to get that money back.

Bangor Township has an ordinance in place to charge people who are rescued from the ice. The measure, cost recovery for emergency services, was adopted in 2009.

“We’ll find out the required bill and finish our report, and we forward it to the administration building and they calculate how much they get charged," Glenn said.

Glenn said he’s glad no one was hurt, but said he’s going to make sure taxpayers get reimbursed for these ice rescues.

“They’re going to get a bill,” Glenn said.

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