The City of Prattville says the incident involving the rescue of campers stranded by flood waters over the weekend was expensive for the city even though it actually occurred outside the city limits in Elmore County.
The Prattville Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team trains often for the type of event it was used for Sunday, but the cost for using them came to the tune of $1,703.57. The amount does not include equipment costs or for having a full fire company on standby.
The City posted the cost on its Facebook page and was met with criticism from followers.
"Typical bean counter. I hardly think you should really be complaining about $1700 when saving lives. Pathetic," one person posted.
"When you save someone life are you kidding that you would throw up how much it cost to HELP someone. First Responders want to help but the guy standing behind them with the check book should keep his thoughts to himself," another poster noted.
Others saw the information more positively. "Useful information, and we should be glad our city wants to keep our expenses under control, thank you!!! And it did not stop the workers from doing their job. Glad to know we have such great services available to our community and others," one comment said.
Another added, "All these people complaining about the city posting the cost of the rescue are being ridiculous. The rescued people need to think before they plan." The commenter suggested those rescued be charged for the service.
The City's Facebook administrator responded, "The point being made is that putting yourself in a situation like this due to poor planning or trespassing private property cost the City money and could've cost a first responder his life or could've cost one of the citizens their lives."
The dramatic rescue occurred Sunday after a dozen campers became stranded because of rising creek waters brought on by heavy rains.
Seven adults and 5 children were camping at Pine Creek when the rain began pouring down. Suddenly they found themselves trapped on an island. The rapidly rising water overtook their vehicles, flooding them and making any escape impossible.
As for the island the campers were on, the City of Prattville does have a law on the books prohibiting camping there. Officials say it's time to make some changes to the Pine Creek recreation area in order to prevent similar situation from happening in the future.
The city is also urging residents to consider all factors when planning an outing. Make sure that your group is not trespassing or putting yourselves at risk in areas known to flood.
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