Homeowner doesn’t pay fire protection fee – fire dept watches his house burn

If you live in Obion county (TN) and want fire protection, you have to pay a $75/yr fee to the city of South Fulton. But what happens if you don’t pay the fee? According to this story (from HotAir.com), the fire department will stand around roasting weenies while your house burns to the ground. Ugh…

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.

The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck…

“I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong,” said Gene Cranick.

Because of that, not much is left of Cranick’s house…

The Cranicks told 9-1-1 they would pay firefighters, whatever the cost, to stop the fire before it spread to their house…

It was only when a neighbor’s field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn’t.

I suppose one can’t blame the firefighters – they were only doing what they were told. But how can the mayor and fire chief face their neighbor after letting his house burn down over a lousy $75? The guy did offer to pay what it costs – after the fact, of course.

I’ve lived in the South since 1994 and have always thought that Southerners were, you know, neighborly. To me, the neighborly thing would have been to put out the fire and charge the guy, say, $750. He probably would have paid it without hesitation. The fire department could have had a kegger and a weenie roast with the money and this homeowner would be more likely to pay the fee in the future.

I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere but in an age where we don’t refuse medical treatment to anyone, regardless of whether they can pay or not, this seems a bit incongruous.

3 Responses to “Homeowner doesn’t pay fire protection fee – fire dept watches his house burn”

  1. More insanity that will only hurt the public, as usual. It’s a small price but completely unjustified.

  2. You make a valid point however we’re talking about doing the “neighborly” thing here. Whether or not the homeowner paid the service fee, these people are all part of the same community. This family lost their home and belongings – that’s a hell of an object lesson. One or two cases, in which the homeowner had to pay a jacked-up fee to save their home, would probably motivate everyone to pay the normal fee. I would expect this type of thing in the Northeast, not the South where, as I mentioned, people at least *seem* to be more neighborly.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Charging a higher than normal service fee is not feasible as the voluntary fire dept. can be accused of starting the fire in order to generate a better income. This is a possibility and the house owner by some fluke might win.

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