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Just WOW. Because of Unpaid Fee, Firefighters Let Home Burn


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#1 Animal

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 12:13 PM

So somebody's whole world is worth a 75 dollar fee?

(Oct. 6) -- A small rural community in western Tennessee is outraged and the fire chief is nursing a black eye after firefighters stood by and watched a mobile home burn to the ground because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 municipal fee.

South Fulton city firefighters -- equipped with trucks, hoses and other firefighting equipment -- didn't intervene to save Gene Cranick's doublewide trailer home when it caught fire last week. But they did arrive on the scene to protect the house of a neighbor, who had paid his fire subscription fee.

"I just forgot to pay my $75," Cranick told ABC News. "I did it last year, the year before. ... It slipped my mind."


Whole article: Aol News Article by Lauren Frayer Oct 6, 2010

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#2 thelittleduck

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 12:52 PM

WOW is right! I've always thought of firefighting as being a vocation. I'm surprised the fire chief got away with just a black eye. What if a human life had been lost?

#3 Pandy

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 01:10 PM

The man's son punched the Fire Chief in the face and he gets charged with aggravated assault.. they should have let it ride. That fire chief, if it was my home they let burn, would have to watch his back for the rest of his natural life. Those men in that fire department are not firefighters in the proper sense of the term, they are city workers. This is incredible they would let someone's home just burn that way. Deliberately, with forethought. They made a conscious decision to let someone's home burn. Let his pets die. They killed that man's pets. That is animal cruelty. I cannot imagine how angry that poor homeowner must be.

To the South Fulton city firefighters, what if a person was in that home would you still have let it burn? I think you all should think long and hard about that. Would you have let a family die because of a $75 fee? How could you live with that? How would you be able to sleep at night, if you consider yourself a true firefighter? To stand by while someone's home burns flat to the ground that way is unconscionable! You made a conscious decision to let a family's pets DIE! That family has no home! You are not true firefighters. A firefighter is supposed to be a hero. What gave you the right to decide if someone should have a home or not.. I always thought a firefighter, if he saw a fire, he fought it. Even at the risk of his own life they fought the fire. I guess not in South Fulton in Obion County. This is a smear on firefighters everywhere. There are no heroes in Obion County, in West Tennessee USA!

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#4 Andrew

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 01:52 PM

Let me play Devil's advocate here for a moment.

As I understand it, the house in question was outside of the city limits of Fulton. The Fulton fire department is funded by the taxes of the residents of the city of Fulton. The fire department offers a service to people living outside of the city in return for a fee which is likely commensurate with what residents within the city limits pay through taxes. In this case, the resident declined the services by not paying the fee. Additionally, there is no indication that any human lives were at risk at any point after the first call to the fire department.

Now, with all that being said, I tend to agree that failing to douse the flames amounted to a cruel and heartless act. Worse still is the fact that the victim here was obviously being made an example of by the city government; $75 is a pittance to even the smallest rural government and the victim offered to pay "however much it takes" to have the fire fighters save his home. If it were about the money then the fire department would have responded to the emergency and then billed the homeowner later. So, obviously money isn't the sticking point for the city government: they are trying to make a point.

It is wrong, I say it is inhumane, to sacrifice the home of anyone in order to make so paltry a point. A fire fighter standing by and watching a house burn to the ground for lack of a fee is akin to a doctor standing by and watching a patient bleed to death because they don't have insurance: it is wrong, it is unethical, it is immoral. Doctors have, and I would argue that fire fighters have, a duty to act in their titular capacities which cannot be nullified by law or policy or command.

#5 BlackSpyder

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 04:57 PM

Civil servants are not "required" to help according to Warren v. District of Columbia. It's sad that this is the current state of affairs in our country, where $75 dollars is worth more then a persons home. As for the son "assaulting" the "fire chief", in my opinion if the man wasn't there to do his job then he was trespassing, which is a crime itself and the son was right to "make a civilian's arrest" of the criminal.

Yes, I am aware that Warren v. District of Columbia deals specifically with Police but it sets precedent along with other cases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

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#6 MissPlaced

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 07:52 PM

Blackspider, the young man went to the firehouse to complain to the fire chief about their action's or should i say their LACK of action!
Unfortunately that's why the young man was arrested and charged......

These are some cold heartless........Fatherless children( I'm bein polite here) but you get my drift.......

I have personally known some Fire Fighters, and they are very HONORABLE MEN!! who would NEVER have done such a heartless thing!!

and I can imagine that the resident's of Obion County will make there anger known at the next election.....soo lil Mr."this is a "Regretable situation" had better be prepared to move..

and when the shoe is on the other foot, and make no mistake about it,it will be at some point in time in all of their lives....they will taste the bitter taste of their action's.....I find no pleasure in this.....BUT you reap what you sow.....you don't plant corn and get tomatoes......these are some sorry pathetic people.

and I would imagine that the people and neighbors of this poor man and his family will take up a fund to help their neighbor/friend rebuild.....and i'm sure that the RED Cross will be of great help to these poor folks as well and i would venture to say that there's probably a Por Bono attorney that will come forward to help the young son as well, if this has raised our ire can you imagine what it must be doing to that community.....

Edited by MissPlaced, 06 October 2010 - 08:32 PM.


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#7 Pandy

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 11:51 AM

I understand about laws and how they need to be upheld. The laws are supposed to be "For The People" OK in this instance it is not for the people but for the city. Now someone has lost a home. Again I say.. what would they have done if there was a family in there. This could be the next fire. This is why I feel politicians are not to be trusted. Their words say they are for the people but the laws are not for the people. This is immoral. They should have done something.

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#8 MissPlaced

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:19 PM

Pandy, you are exactly right!...This is judicial blackmail!! intended to send a message loud and clear to this community..."Pay up or else".....The ONLY thing this message will achieve is to stir the anger of this community and heads will roll.......It wasn't just about Money, That poor man offered to Pay "Whatever it took to save his home".....These Good ole boys have gotten above their raisin,and in their smug arrogance they believe that they have successfully scared these folks......their arrogant stipidity will come back to bite em and bite em hard!

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#9 the_patriot11

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 12:25 PM

In my humble opinion, I agree it was wrong for the firefighters not to douse the flames-not only that but to show up and watch it burn, and I can understand why the son punched the fire chief, he probably deserved it, and like stated if he wasnt there to fight the fire then he was trespassing and should have just gone home if he wasnt going to help. However, beyond that, I see no reason to threaten further violence etc. etc because in the end, no one got hurt, and the only thing hurt was material possessions, and the reality of it is, with the exception of maybe some heirlooms with sentimental value, all of it can be replaced, and as Im guessing the guy had home owners insurance, (or hope he does) will probably be replaced at no cost to him and be nicer then it was before-it was the case when my parents house burned down. In the end, yes those firefighters should have done their job, but it is only a house and no one got hurt.

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#10 JonM33

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 03:00 PM

I doubt that he lost any pets unless he had them caged up. I watched the video and he didn't seem emotionally upset at all. Most pet owners would be screaming and devastated. Why was his grandson there playing with fire anyway? Apparently the grandson started the fire in some barrels near the home?

One thing of note, it's his fault. You can't let your car insurance slip and then get into a car wreck and expect the insurance company to help even if you offer them money. If this city had a requirement for the community to pay a fee then he should have paid it. His fault, his loss. This city policy has been around since 1990 so it wasn't anything new.

#11 Orange Blossom

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 04:56 PM

I read about this in my local paper today which also drew a parallel between paying the fee and paying car insurance.

However, that parallel is, IMO, grossly askew. Here's the difference. Firefighters work to put out fires to PREVENT damage and to save lives. Car insurance (an insurance company) DOES NOT PREVENT anything; instead, it pays for damages after the fact if they are in an accident. The damage someone might suffer by not paying car insurance is in the pocket book and possibly license suspension or jail because of law violation. The damage caused by not fighting a fire, however, is complete loss of home or whatever and loss of life. There is just no comparison to my way of thinking. Further, an insurance company is out for profit for either itself or it's share-holders, not to mention the big fat salaries of the head honchos. A fire department provides a necessary service and is supported by tax payers, grants, or by donations (as in the case of a volunteer fire department). A fire department ain't out for profit. Yes, the man neglected to pay the fee. Put out the fire and let him pay later, assess a late fee if you wish. He'll be much more able to pay the fee if he hasn't lost everything to a fire.

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker told the newspaper that if the city allowed people to pay after the fact there would be no incentive to subscribe.


"Firefighters let home burn - owner didn't pay fee." AP The Herald-Times Bloomington, Indiana Oct. 7, 2010 Section E page 1 column 5

What's next; not getting ambulance service because a fee hasn't been paid?

I must say, it was rather shocking to me to read that article today after hearing on the radio a day or two ago just that possible scenario as a result of eliminating or greatly reducing taxes. Someone calls 911; sorry can't help. You didn't pay your fee.

Possible solution: Make the fire department be under county authority instead of city authority and have all county tax payers support it.

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#12 Queen-Evie

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 04:59 PM

Here's a twist to the story

TN homeowner doesn't blame firefighters

#13 the_patriot11

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 05:12 PM

see, they do have insurance, so in the end life goes on. I still think they should have tried to fight the fire, but oh well.

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#14 Animal

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 09:27 PM

Simple solution would have been to put the fire out and put a mechanics lien on the property. That way the county or whomever required the fee be paid gets their money with interest when the property is sold or changes hands. The property is still taken care of by public safety workers doing their jobs. The city doesn't look like a bunch of heartless buffoons.

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#15 ddeerrff

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

You can't let your car insurance slip and then get into a car wreck and expect the insurance company to help even if you offer them money. If this city had a requirement for the community to pay a fee then he should have paid it. His fault, his loss.


As a subsequent post pointed out, car insurance pays after the fact - to cover a loss rather than to prevent a loss. Rather than car insurance, compare it to health insurance, which also is designed to prevent a loss (of life, or health).

If I go to the emergency department of a hospital and they find out I didn't pay for health insurance, do that deny medical treatment? No, they just bill later. That's what the fire department should do.
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