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Business owner billed for 911 call

Police car. (Dreamstime/TNS)
April 05, 2024

A San Francisco Business owner was sent an incorrect medical bill by the city after calling 911 and having firefighters put out a homeless camp fire near his store in December.

The San Francisco Standard reported that Mustafa Damrawi claimed he sent a $560 medical bill by the city on March 7. Damrawi owns Hot Zone, which is a store that sells women’s clothing and adult products.

Damrawi told The San Francisco Standard that he received the $560 medical bill months after calling 911 in response to a fire that started outside his business in December. The San Francisco Standard reported that Damrawi received a notice on March 7 from the San Francisco Fire Department, warning, “This is your third notice. Please respond immediately to avoid further collection activity.”

According to The San Francisco Standard, the area surrounding Damrawi’s store is plagued by drugs and homelessness and has experienced a significant increase in fires caused by homeless camps over the past five years.

The storeowner claimed that Hot Zone has been repeatedly targeted by individuals who allegedly have assaulted Damrawi, robbed his store, and vandalized his shop. However, he explained that he has not reported any illegal activities to city authorities since receiving the $560 medical bill out of fear that the city would charge him more money.

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“Am I supposed to just sit around watching the fire?” Damrawi asked. “This building is wood. It’s going to burn.” Damrawi added, “It’s like I’m living in prison.” 

In a statement obtained by The San Francisco Standard, Justin Schorr, a San Francisco Fire Department spokesman, acknowledged that the department had incorrectly billed Damrawi. Schorr explained that an unidentified individual who was transported for medical care during the fire incident outside his business falsely cited the business owner’s store address as their home. The San Francisco Fire Department added that the incorrect charge against Damrawi would be canceled.

“We encourage anyone who believes they are witnessing a fire or medical emergency to call 911 immediately,” Schorr said. “This issue should be resolved as soon as the billing company is notified of our direction.”

According to The San Francisco Standard, Schorr warned that the billing issue Damrawi experienced could happen to other residents as homeless individuals have been documented claiming random addresses as their own.