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jnelsoninjax

Home burns while firefighters watch, again

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OBION COUNTY, Tenn. ? A local family watches their home burn to the ground and just a few feet behind them, firefighters watch, too.

It's happened multiple times before in one local community: firefighters refuse to respond because the homeowner didn't pay a fire subscription fee.

The last time this happened, the city of South Fulton, Tennessee, received a lot of heat nationwide for this policy. That was more than a year ago but nothing has changed.

The mayor said it comes down to simple business. If they don't collect fire fees, the fire department can't survive and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.

Besides that, he likes the "pay for spray" policy and said it's fair.

But that's hard to stomach when you've just lost your home and everything you've worked for.

"In an emergency, the first thing you think of, 'Call 9-1-1," homeowner Vicky Bell said.

Firefighters came out.

Bell said, "9-1-1 said they were in fact dispatched and they showed that they were on the scene."

But once on the scene, they only watched.

"You could look out my mom's trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance," Bell said.

For Bell, that sight was almost as disturbing as the fire itself.

"We just wished we could've gotten more out," Bell said.

It's a controversial policy that we've dealt with before. If you live in the city, you get fire protection but if not, you have to pay the $75 fire protection fee each year. With this policy, the city makes no exceptions.

"There's no way to go to every fire and keep up the manpower, the equipment, and just the funding for the fire department," Mayor David Crocker said.

And Crocker said by now, everyone should know about the city's fire policy.

"After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees, this time," Crocker said.

Bell and her boyfriend admitted they were aware but thought this would never happen to them.

For tonight, this hotel is home and they're happy be alive.

Source

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Wow.. Just.. Just Wow.

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Sooo... If someone was trpped inside of a burning building, yet the owner of it didn't pay that absurd fee, then would the firefighters just let that person die without making any attempt to help them?

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"After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees, this time," Crocker said.

Bell and her boyfriend admitted they were aware but thought this would never happen to them.

I guess they were wrong ... they took a chance, rolled the dice, and lost ...

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Hmm, $75 a "year" is really cheap. Here in Shelby County in TN, if you live in the county, it's $50 a "month" for "county fire protection." Weirdest thing about it, is it's an extra fee on the utility bill. Sad that they lost their home, but a friend is a fireman, and he's told me the same thing, if you don't pay the fire protection fee, don't expect the fire department to do anything other than watch. And the main reason they're there to watch is to make sure your fire doesn't spread to other homes (which probably have paid the fire protection fee).

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Sickening...

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Makes me thankful to live in a community of volunteers.

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Thats just sick and stupid of 'em

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They should at least give them the option to pay on the spot :/

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Hmm, $75 a "year" is really cheap. Here in Shelby County in TN, if you live in the county, it's $50 a "month" for "county fire protection." Weirdest thing about it, is it's an extra fee on the utility bill. Sad that they lost their home, but a friend is a fireman, and he's told me the same thing, if you don't pay the fire protection fee, don't expect the fire department to do anything other than watch. And the main reason they're there to watch is to make sure your fire doesn't spread to other homes (which probably have paid the fire protection fee).

Sorry but that is ****ing bull****. They need to get off their high horses and do their jobs. They can collect the fee afterwards.
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Makes me glad im in the UK.

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in austrlaia the fire dept is run by the government and they will help u, i think its completly wrong that they just sat and watched there house burn :/

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lol wtf!! Thats stupid.

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I struggle to understand that such additional fees are even in place. Safety inspection, yes. But this was an emergency.

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lol this is stupid. That idiot mayor should be fired.

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I struggle to understand that such additional fees are even in place. Safety inspection, yes. But this was an emergency.

If the town/county cannot afford to pay the cost to run the fire department then the money has to come from somewhere. While I agree this is nuts and the money should just come out of people's local tax (this way they dont have a choice) it is even more nuts that people would choose not to pay the fee. Hopefully the homeowners have insurance (and if they failed to pay for that then they are S.O.L.)

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This is absolutely crazy, I can understand the concept of paying for the service but surely in a situation like this, it should be dealt with and then claim the costs back from the family after. If they refuse to pay then they can be taken to court.

I am sure if there was someone stuck in there, they would intervene.

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Sooo... If someone was trpped inside of a burning building, yet the owner of it didn't pay that absurd fee, then would the firefighters just let that person die without making any attempt to help them?

No, they'd still save the people (just like if you're in an accident and need treatment the emergency services will try to save your life even if you can't pay), they just won't save the house.

For those saying it's wrong: It's like not having insurance. Sure you might be lucky and not need it, but if something bad happens and you haven't paid, don't go complaining when they won't help you out.

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$75 is really such a small amount to pay for Fire Protection, if they have the dough but don't want to pay, then it is their own fault. I think that this City takes such a hardline approach because there must be a lot of homeowners in the same boat, which the City wants to prove a point to.

They should however make concessions on the registration/renewal for homeowners who can prove that they are suffering financial hardship, and genuinely can't afford $75.

And they should also offer a non-subsidised price on a Fee for service basis. eg: Pay $75/year insurance Policy or pay a much higher price in line with the total amount of potential revenue that City misses out on because of all of the people who don't pay (I'm guessing that it would probably be much more than $10,000). Make them sign a contract in advance agreeing to it. I would be ironic if someone signs, doesn't pay, and the assets that the Fire department saved end up being repo'd to pay for Fire Department.

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Speaking as someone whose family is loaded with firefighters -

The fees are usually charged to those outside the community where the fire dept is located. As such, it really isn't their responsibility to provide fire services but the service is offered to rural residents as a courtesy and at their option.

The fees are used not only to help pay for extra use-related maintenance but also to defray the cost of extending workers comp, disability and other coverages to the firefighters providing out of jurisdiction services (yes, it matters.)

They chose not to partake, and this is the result. Their choice.

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The idea of A la carte emergency services scares me.

What's next? Do what Crassus would and buy a burning house for a modest sum while it was on fire then pay firefighters to put it out?

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Ok, they should have paid instead of gambling with the fate. It's still stupid, dear Americans! Sort yourselves out before I lose my illusion that it's still better than post-USSR. Over here old six-axle ZILs will rush to any little s*t and put it out sometimes going across region borders if no other forces are available, sorting all crud afterwards.

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A lot of people don't know how reality works, at least in the US. For texas, in most cities you are paying the fire department with your property taxes. But if you are rural like me, the reality is that you probably rely on a volunteer fire department that isn't really getting paid. The truth is if you call 911 at 3am, you might get a volunteer to show up eventually but it won't be fast because these are volunteers with real lives. Where I live, I talked to the fire marshall for a near by city and he told me to call his department instead of 911. He said even though it wasn't their job, they would always come out and help us even out of the city. But calling 911 where I live, he said that wouldn't necessarily get you any kind of response because that call went to volunteers.

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Reality schmeality. A lot of people don't know how America works.

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http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/2010/10/fire-subscription-service.html

>

This article is not meant to bash the firefighters or city politics but to offer a viewpoint of the struggle the fire service has been facing in providing fire protection service to our citizens. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, more than 70 percent of fire services are provided by volunteer firefighters, mostly in the rural areas of this country. Two major issues facing these organizations are the lack of people and the lack of money. ??

???????

In many areas of the rural United States, fire protection is paid for by a property tax paid each year or through some sort of alternative funding mechanism such as subscription services.

We all understand the concept of subscription services as we indulge in that luxury every day in our lives. We subscribe to life and health insurance, cell phone and Internet services, newspapers, magazines, vehicle collision and home fire insurance, fire and burglar alarm protection, and hundreds of other subscription services. What happens when we don?t pay for these services? The coverage stops. It?s a simple concept.

Did you ever let your motor vehicle insurance lapse, get into an accident, and call your insurance agency for ?retroactive? insurance coverage? After the person on the other end of the phone stops laughing, you will soon realize that ?retroactive coverage? does not occur, as was the case in Obion County. Even Mr. Cranick admitted that he ?forgot? to pay for this service. So here we are bashing the response of the firefighters and the government, when the homeowner admitted his lapse of judgment.

Let?s get a basic grip in this controversy. For you history buffs, back in the day of Benjamin Franklin, insurance companies in larger cities formed fire brigades to protect their insured structures. Since there were several fire insurance companies, it was common for more than one fire brigade to exist in the city. On arrival at a fire, the first action taken was to check for a fire insurance marker. If one did not exist, or if it belonged to a competitor?s company, the fire brigade simply went home, leaving the structure to burn. Fire insurance has more than 200 years of history in America. The early fire marks can still be seen on many older buildings in many American cities. Subscribers paid firefighting companies in advance for fire protection and received in exchange a fire mark to attach to their building. Those payments for the fire marks supported the firefighting companies.

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