Urban explorers may get charged if they have to be rescued

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A Minneapolis city council member wants to send a bill to urban explorers who end up needing to be rescued.

At Friday's city council meeting, Barbara Johnson, the council's president, proposed amending the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances to authorize charging fees for certain emergency services, including technical rescue responses.

"It's not like you had a heart attack," Johnson told MPR News. "It's that you've chosen to participate in an illegal activity, putting yourself at risk, and then putting at risk the people that have to rescue you."

This proposal comes after several incidents involving people who have fallen while trespassing inside the city's many abandoned grail elevators in recent months, despite pleas from city officials to stay away from these dangerous properties.

One of the most recent incidents, which happened back in June, involved dozens of firefighters working for hours to rescue a man who got hurt after falling inside one of the city's abandoned elevators.

Johnson says the city could have charged him about $1,000 for the rescue, MPR News notes.

The fire department already charges motorists who have to be extricated from a vehicle following a crash, the news station says.

The Minneapolis Fire Department was involved with three "building/structure extrications," one "confined space rescue" one "extrication, rescue, other," and nine vehicle extrications in 2014, the department's annual report says.

Some Minneapolis firefighters are also members of the state's Minnesota Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team made up of five fire departments in the state. This team typically performs four to five rescues a year, the Star Tribune reported.

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