CHAPTER 7. COUNTY COMMISSIONS AND OFFICERS.

§7-1-3d. Levy for, establishment, and operation of fire prevention units; financial aid.

(a) The county commission in any county may:

(1) Levy for and erect, maintain, and operate fire stations; and

(2) Form county fire prevention units, and supply equipment therefor in the county: Provided, That if a county commission establishes a separate county fire prevention unit in any city in West Virginia that is now operating under the provisions of the state civil service act for paid fire departments, then the new unit shall be operated in accordance with the provisions of the civil service act. Any such unit shall be formed and recognized under the regulations of the State Fire Commission for local fire departments.

(b) Any county commission may render financial aid to any one or more public fire protection facilities in operation in the county for the general benefit of the public in the prevention of fires.

(c) Any county commission may also authorize volunteer fire companies or paid fire departments to charge reasonable reimbursement fees for personnel and equipment used in performing firefighting services, victim rescue, or cleanup of debris or hazardous materials by department personnel.

(1) The rate for any such fees to be charged to property owners or other persons responsible or liable for payment for such services must be approved by the county commission and must be reasonable: Provided, That no fee for any single incident or accident shall exceed $1,500, except that the fee for an incident or accident involving hazardous materials or extended search and rescue and water rescue incidents may exceed this amount based on the necessary and reasonable costs incurred.

(2) The county commission shall require that any fees charged pursuant to the authority conferred by this section must be in writing and be itemized by specific services rendered and the rate for each service.

(3) Unless exempt by law, any person, partnership, corporation, or governmental agency shall be fully responsible for all charges levied by this section within 75 days of the date of the response resulting in such charge. Payment to the fire department or company rendering the services shall be in full, unless a written agreement has been reached between the fire department or company and the responsible party to establish a payment schedule to satisfy all charges.

(4) If payment for services rendered has not been received within 90 days from the date of response, and if a payment schedule has not been established, a fire department or company may proceed in magistrate court or in other appropriate court action to recover from the responsible party all fees associated with the response, including attorney fees and court costs.