Sec. 13. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the volunteer fire department that responds first to an incident may impose a charge on the owner of property, the owner of a vehicle, or a responsible party (as defined in IC 13-11-2-191(d)) that is involved in a hazardous material or fuel spill or chemical or hazardous material related fire (as defined in IC 13-11-2-96(b)):

(1) that is responded to by the volunteer fire department; and

Terms Used In Indiana Code 36-8-12-13

  • Attorney: includes a counselor or other person authorized to appear and represent a party in an action or special proceeding. See Indiana Code 1-1-4-5
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Property: includes personal and real property. See Indiana Code 1-1-4-5
  • Responsible party: has the meaning set forth in IC 13-11-2-191(d). See Indiana Code 36-8-12-2
  • Volunteer fire department: means a department or association organized for the purpose of answering fire alarms, extinguishing fires, and providing other emergency services, the majority of members of which receive no compensation or nominal compensation for their services. See Indiana Code 36-8-12-2
(2) that members of that volunteer fire department assisted in extinguishing, containing, or cleaning up.

A second or subsequently responding volunteer fire department may not impose a charge on an owner or responsible party under this section, although it may be entitled to reimbursement from the first responding volunteer fire department in accordance with an interlocal or other agreement.

     (b) A volunteer fire department that is funded, in whole or in part:

(1) by taxes imposed by a unit; or

(2) by a contract with a unit;

may not impose a charge under subsection (a) on a natural person who resides or pays property taxes within the boundaries of the unit described in subdivision (1) or (2), unless the spill or the chemical or hazardous material fire poses an imminent threat to persons or property.

     (c) The volunteer fire department shall bill the owner or responsible party of the vehicle for the total dollar value of the assistance that was provided, with that value determined by a method that the state fire marshal shall establish under section 16 of this chapter. A copy of the fire incident report to the state fire marshal must accompany the bill. This billing must take place within thirty (30) days after the assistance was provided. The owner or responsible party shall remit payment directly to the governmental unit providing the service. Any money that is collected under this section may be:

(1) deposited in the township firefighting fund established in IC 36-8-13-4;

(2) used to pay principal and interest on a loan made by the department of homeland security established by IC 10-19-2-1 or a division of the department for the purchase of new or used firefighting and other emergency equipment or apparatus; or

(3) used for the purchase of equipment, buildings, and property for firefighting, fire protection, and other emergency services.

     (d) Any administrative fees charged by a fire department’s agent must be paid only from fees that are collected and allowed by Indiana law and the fire marshal’s schedule of fees.

     (e) An agent who processes fees on behalf of a fire department shall send all bills, notices, and other related materials to both the fire department and the person being billed for services.

     (f) All fees allowed by Indiana law and the fire marshal’s fee schedule must be itemized separately from any other charges.

     (g) The volunteer fire department may maintain a civil action to recover an unpaid charge that is imposed under subsection (a) and may, if it prevails, recover all costs of the action, including reasonable attorney‘s fees.

As added by P.L.315-1989, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.18-1990, SEC.294; P.L.70-1995, SEC.8; P.L.2-1996, SEC.293; P.L.1-1996, SEC.92; P.L.50-1998, SEC.3; P.L.1-1999, SEC.98; P.L.107-2007, SEC.15; P.L.127-2009, SEC.12; P.L.182-2009(ss), SEC.435; P.L.1-2010, SEC.154; P.L.208-2011, SEC.1; P.L.10-2019, SEC.140.