VALLEY VILLAGE (CBS) — The City Fire department may cancel the bills for paramedic services for the families of two good Samaritans who were electrocuted at a traffic crash in Valley Village.
An official announcement on the issue is expected Monday, according to department spokesman Brian Humphrey.
He declined to discuss the details of the announcement or whether the fee adjustment would include the other five civilians who suffered electrical burns.
“The administration will speak for themselves,” Humphrey said. “They will discuss the issue tomorrow.”
Publicly hailed as heroes, Stacey Lee Schreiber, 39, and Irma Zamora, 40, raced to help a stricken motorist following a crash Wednesday evening. The two women hailed by countless people as Good Samaritans, were electrocuted by an estimated 4,800 volts of power that flowed from a snapped streetlight fixture into water from a sheared fire hydrant that had flooded a crash scene.
Another six people, including a Los Angeles police officer, were also treated at the scene and five of them were later transported to hospitals.
However, it was expected that the families of the two dead women and the five civilian would-be rescuers would soon receive legally mandated bills from the city for the emergency services, including hospital transport and on-scene medical paramedic treatment, a fire department official told City News Service.
The city’s municipal code does not allow billing exemptions for Good Samaritans, or the victims of violent crime.
For example, innocent bystanders who get shot in a drive-by attack and get treated, then taken to a hospital by city fire paramedics get charged for the services they received, he said.
“We can’t decide who’s innocent, who gets a bill and who doesn’t,” Humphrey said Friday. “We have no control over this. We are mandated by the city council and the mayor to bill citizens for the services rendered by paramedics and that’s what we do.”
The city began charging people for paramedic services sometime in the 1970s, he said.
“There was a time when the fire department did it for free, but that was a long time ago,” Humphrey said.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)