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Hurt while stopping fire, men battle medical bills

November 08, 1999

By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

Photo by RIC DUGAN / Staff Photographer


Two men who were injured when they rushed into a smoke-filled apartment building in Hagerstown and convinced a family inside to leave say they shouldn't have to pay their medical bills.

Dave Riggleman, 43, and Kevin Pose, both of Hagerstown, want the City of Hagerstown to pay for their $700 in medical bills resulting from the incident.

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Riggleman and Pose were in the area of the 100 block of North Potomac Street, on March 20 around 4 p.m when a passerby said there was a fire inside a nearby apartment building.

The two men rushed to a first floor apartment at 136 N. Potomac St., which was filling with smoke, and convinced a family of three to leave. A family member had been trying to extinguish the fire.

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Pose received first-degree burns when he hauled out a burning mattress, which fire officials said was the source of the fire.

Riggleman and Pose were treated at Washington County Hospital for smoke inhalation and Pose's burns.

Both men said they contacted the offices of the Hagerstown Fire Marshal and the City of Hagerstown in an effort to have their bills paid.

"They said they didn't have a slush fund to cover things like that," said Pose.

Hagerstown Fire Department officials said they never received such a request for payment.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said he would contact members of the fire department and city officials to determine the city's policy on the matter.

Hagerstown Fire Department Capt. Brian Pile praised the men at the time of the fire, saying "Because of their actions, there was only minor damage."

Riggleman's insurance company was billed for his expenses but did not pay the full amount, he said.

A total of $114.18 for inhalation treatment and emergency room fees remain, and Riggleman has received bills for the amount.

"I'm not paying it. I'll go to jail first, " said Riggleman, who said that years ago he was a volunteer firefighter with the Franklin Fire Co. and the Borough of Chambersburg in Pennsylvania.

Riggleman ignored the bills and was issued a summons by Washington County District Court informing him the hospital was suing him for payment. A court date is scheduled for Nov. 22.

Pose said his insurance company was never billed for his medical expenses, which amounted to about $600.

He said he ripped up letters asking him for payment and told a woman from a collection agency it wasn't getting a dime.

Pose said he has not heard from the insurance company since and Washington County District Court has no record of the hospital suing him for payment.

If the situation isn't resolved by the Nov. 22 court date, Riggleman said he will explain what happened to the judge.

If the judge decides against Riggleman he could appeal the judgment or file a motion for a new trial or judgment, according to information on the summons.

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