MUNHALL (KDKA) — Munhall had to go 24 hours without a fire department because of an insurance snafu.

“We didn’t have a choice because if there was a catastrophic injury or something like that, it could cost millions,” said Chief Ed Pletsch.

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The problem came to light after a fire Tuesday in nearby Duquesne where nearly two dozen families were left homeless. Munhall was one of the departments that responded, and three Munhall firefighters were injured.

“It was a big surprise to us yesterday when we sent three people to the hospital, and I was informed by our agent that we didn’t have worker’s comp,” said Chief Pletsch.

The chief says the problem started when they applied a five percent discount to their insurance bill because of safety training they had done.

But he says the insurance company instead canceled the policy because it didn’t get the full amount. It claims it sent out a notification, according to the chief. However, he says, “My office never received any notification.”

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Fortunately, nearby departments stepped in to handle calls.

“We rely heavily on our mutual aid companies,” said Chief Pletsch. “They’ve already answered a couple of calls.”

The chief says they scrambled to get a new policy which will kick in at midnight on Thursday, so the department can run as normal after that.

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He also says they’ve put procedures in place to make sure this never happens again.

David Highfield