Fishermen rescued from ice on Fox River will be charged

DE PERE -- Eight fishermen rescued after getting stuck on a slab of ice on the Fox River will now have to pay a fee for the rescue, and they're not happy about it!

De Pere Fire Rescue issued a $500 fine for the rescue from the ice. Nathan Schoenick is one of those rescued, and says he was told he and the other stranded fishermen wouldn't have to pay for their rescue. Schoenick, of Shawano, thinks it's the fire department's job to help people in need, and doesn't think he should have to pay for services already covered by his taxes.

De Pere Fire Rescue Chief Robert Kiser says between all the equipment deployed, plus overtime for off-duty responders and a rip in a rubber boat, the cost for this ice rescue could be up to $2,000. "All of that comes into play for something of that nature," Kiser said.

Billing for services isn't new. Kiser says it comes from a fee structure put in place in 2009 to limit the burden on taxpayers. People who call for an ambulance or a rescue and extrication are charged. Kiser says the fishermen shouldn't be surprised. "You launch your boat, you pay a fee. You get rescued on the ice, you get trapped in your car, you pay a fee," Kiser said.

The total bill for all eight fishermen could total $4,000. De Pere City Administrator Larry Delo says the money from the ice rescue fees will go into the city's general fund.

Kiser says there won't be a bill from Brown County's response with its air boat. Brown County and De Pere have a mutual aid agreement.