Elderly Residents in Wisconsin Billed $7K for False Fire Alarms

Two elderly residents living in the same senior apartment complex in Pewaukee, Wis., have each received bills for $7,676 for false fire alarms.

PEWAUKEE, Wis. – An 88-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against the Village of Pewaukee after she received a bill of more than $7,000 for a false alarm at her home.

Arlene Dillon’s carbon monoxide detector that is attached to her Life Alert system went off in February. When operators from the company contacted Dillon, she informed them that everything was all right and that the alarm was false, TMJ4reports.

In her lawsuit, Dillon says Life Alert operators told her to contact the Pewaukee Fire Department just to be safe. Following the advice, Dillon contacted the fire department, which sent full response to her home.

Because the alarm was false, the department sent the elderly woman a bill of $7,676.

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Now Dillon is suing to get the bill thrown out, saying that she contacted authorities and told them everything was OK before they sent out a full response.

A month later, an 86-year-old man, who lives in the same senior apartment complex as Dillon, received a similar bill after a smoke alarm went off inside his apartment.

Dan Luhring, the elderly man’s son, said there was no smell of smoke or fire; however, they contacted dispatch to turn off the alarm, TMJ4reports.

The department sent out full response, and then sent the elderly man a bill for $7,676.

Luhring says that he and his father refuse to pay the bill because it is too expensive. He noted that he would be willing to pay “a few hundred dollars,” but not a hefty thousand-dollar fee.

For its part, officials with the village of Pewaukee plans to begin discussions with the city of Pewaukee, which provides fire and EMS services, to see if the steep fines can be reduced.


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