The cost of calling out the fire brigade to attend a chimney fire at your home could increase by over 200% from 150 to 500 as Athlone town councillors were asked to approve the hike in the charge this week.
Councillors were, however, reluctant to introduce the hike until they were updated by council officials regarding the implications for homeowners and given details of a proposed waiver scheme and how it would work. They are to discuss the matter again in two weeks time.
However, Westmeath county councillors have already agreed to the hike, meaning householders in the county council area will pay the new charges.
The council also introduced a standardised call out charge of 675 per hour for each class B appliance, which is a fire engine and crew, attending a non-domestic fire incident.
Previously the price of these call-outs varied, based on time of day, costing 475 per hour in daytime hours and 950 per hour during the night or at weekends.
The charge will be based on a minimum of one hour and then charged for each quarter hour thereafter.
The councillors are being asked to approve the introduction of a 675 per hour charge for domestic fires, reducing it to 500 per hour for chimney fires. The council's website states that the previous charge for a chimney fire was 150 while there was no charge for house fires.
At Monday's meeting of Athlone Town Council, Chief Fire Officer for Westmeath Dave Stuart said at present because there is a variance in fees for day and night there is confusion among the public about the charges.