Video: Firefighters let home burn to the ground because owner didn’t pay annual $75 fee

posted at 9:24 pm on October 4, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Dan Foster, who looks upon the libertarian paradise and shivers.

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’m guessing 95 percent of our commenters will say, “Right on, let it burn. A contract’s a contract!” And yet 95 percent of those same people, upon finding themselves at the scene with a hose and a truck full of water, would have done the moral thing and tried to put it out notwithstanding the free-rider problem created by the Cranicks. That’s America’s health-care dynamic in a nutshell, no? No one’s getting turned away from the ER, even if they can’t afford to pay; thus, we need a mandate to force everyone to pay up front in order to shrink the pool of free-riders and help absorb the costs of those left in the pool. Which is to say, why not simply levy a $75 tax on everyone to force them to pay for fire coverage? Or, as Foster notes, if they’re willing to pay anything once the fire’s consuming their house, why not let them opt in after the fact for a vastly increased fee? It would have to be many times larger than the $75 service charge, obviously, partly in order to deter others from opting in after the fact and partly because the service charge helps cover the fire department’s expenses going forward. If everyone opted out of the service charge on the assumption that they’d pay the larger after-the-fact fee if/when a fire broke out at home, the department would start the year with zero funds; but if the after-the-fact fee was large enough, some of the surplus revenue generated could be carried over from one year to the next so that there’d always be funding for operations. There must be some amount large enough that the after-the-fact fee would make putting out the fire the efficient, cost-effective choice for the department. The question is, is it so large that realistically no one could afford to pay it? Exit question: Admit it, you’d try to put the fire out. Wouldn’t you?

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It’s very simple: A fire starts. The responsible fire department puts it out. Period.

You obviously live in the city, where this statement is true.

In rural America, this statement is not always true.

The responsible department won’t risk men or material to try and SAVE a home with 5 minutes of water and no hydrant, when they have no authority or legal obligation to do so. Instead, they will simply contain the fire and let it burn out.

City – Rural – Different in almost every way when it comes to “services”.

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 5:50 PM

A busted fender doesn’t “spread” to other cars the way an untended fire spreads to adjacent properties.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 5:36 PM

So? One need not put out the fire in your house to keep it from spreading to others. As with liability insurance where I need not fix my own car to make sure any damage I’ve caused is taken care of.

I agree. If you can pay for the service, then the service should be rendered.

Then why argue with me?

In this case, the FD/hospital cannot function without someone paying for its existence in the first place.

But we already know in this case that the fire department is covered by taxes from another city. This is the only fee service it charges, and clearly they could be taking in more money if they charge ridiculous fees to those who don’t pay the $75.

BTW, if I don’t have insurance, I cannot go to see my doctor for a simple ailment. He wouldn’t refuse to ‘fix my flu’, he just wouldn’t see me in the first place.

Why? Your doctor only sees those with insurance? There are other doctors. I don’t have insurance and have never had a problem paying for a fix to my flu or whatever I’m whining about.

I could go to the ER, but if I go to the ER we all know SOMEONE pays for that visit regardless.

And we all know that, that someone could be the person who is sick. Weird concept, I realize, but some people can pay for their own expenses.

It could be in the form of higher prices or gouging insurance companies, but it all comes back to those that actually pay their bills, doesn’t it? Apparently, the Cranicks have visited the ER before and didn’t pay their bill, so when they stopped by the ER a second time, are we faulting the doctor for not treating their non-life threatening ailment? No.

Geministorm on October 5, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Except if the Cranicks had come in, they would have been treated and then stuck with the tab. Depending on the laws in that state, there are certain things the hospital can and cannot do to get their money back.

I understand that it’s not ideal, but I don’t see how that justifies Obama’s mandate, which is the logical conclusion of your argument.

Esthier on October 5, 2010 at 5:54 PM

It’s now time to call the $75 what it is; a shakedown.

john1schn on October 5, 2010 at 5:48 PM

$75 simply isn’t enough for a shakedown, though I can see the argument if the fire department had allowed him to pay in excess of 7k.

Esthier on October 5, 2010 at 5:56 PM

If that’s the argument, then that’s the one they should be making, not that $75 would have saved this man’s house.

Esthier on October 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM

You know what I depend on the VFD for? We have a lot of grass wildfires here. I want them equipped to be able to battle those blazes before they reach my property. At that they are doing remarkably well.

Oleta on October 5, 2010 at 5:58 PM

The government has to be constrained in any way possible or it will absorb as much power as it possibly can. If this county would have taxed for fire services, then I don’t think any of us would be in disagreement

Geministorm on October 5, 2010 at 5:50 PM

The county (or state) has a responsibility to fight fires, period. If they haven’t worked out a way to pay for it, that’s the government’s problem. How much money is in the budget for social workers, teachers unions, and pay raises for DMV workers?

The fire department from the neighboring town may be able to run a “pay for spray” racket, without taking on responsibility for something that happens outside their jurisdiction, but the county and/or state have no such excuse.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 6:02 PM

You obviously live in the city, where this statement is true.

In rural America, this statement is not always true.

The responsible department won’t risk men or material to try and SAVE a home with 5 minutes of water and no hydrant, when they have no authority or legal obligation to do so. Instead, they will simply contain the fire and let it burn out.

City – Rural – Different in almost every way when it comes to “services”.

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Try and refrain from making up things that you “know” about me. People in rural areas are not Neanderthal morons, nor are they all union thugs, nor are they all libertarians.

Most are smart enough to grasp the concept that it’s easier to put out a fire when it starts, at one house, rather than wait until it spreads to all the adjacent properties and consumes an entire forest besides. You keep talking about “saving the family photos” but that’s not the issue here. We’re talking about a fire department that wouldn’t even go check out the situation if the customer hadn’t paid the protection racket, and that left before the fire went out. Unwritten but implied is that while they disclaimed responsibility, they didn’t even call the responsible authorities.

That might be fine behavior for a mercenary fire department with no responsibility for the area. If they didn’t have mothers. But it certaintly doesn’t excuse whoever did bear responsibility for containing the fire, whether that be the county or the state government.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 6:10 PM

I amazed people here are still blaming South Fulton and its fire department, when the blame clearly lies with the Obion County government. THEY could have signed an interlocal agreement with all the cities in the county to provide universal rural fire coverage that would have replaced the $75 fee with a county-wide addition to the ad valorem tax that would cover the cost of the rural service (and rural residents would still come out ahead here, since city residents are also part of the county and would have to also pay part of that county property tax increase to fund the rural emergency services). The county was the governing entity that was irresponsible and created the current conditions, if you don’t want to blame the homeowners who didn’t pay up the $75.

The county should have done the contract work for those residents — even if some people outside of the city limits objected to paying the additional property tax (which could be considered ‘nanny state’ actions, but others in this thread seem to prefer the free lunch option for rural homeowners, which isn’t any better). Obion County basically played a game of chicken with the city of South Fulton, expecting that they would respond to the fire and thereby assume any deficit that resulted if they did not get reimbursed for going on the call outside the city limits.

Part of the job of government is to decide what services are essential and what ones aren’t. In this case, the county decided fire protection was not essential enough to add on a county-wide levy, and left it to the individual homeowners to handle. If you think the rural residents should have gotten something for nothing in fire protection with only the promise to pay later (with a national history of only 25-40 percent collections on past due emregency service bills), it’s not a very big step to determining that other services are “necessary”, whether the people getting those services pay for them or not.

jon1979 on October 5, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Where the heck are you getting this “family photos” nonsense argument?

It’s very simple: A fire starts. The responsible fire department puts it out. Period.

Any other policy puts everyone in the area at a significantly greater risk, which is why everyone pays taxes to a government to protect them from things like out-of-control fires. Neither the decision whether to fight the fire, nor the entire cost, is laid on the individual on whose property the fire starts.

If the town government wasn’t responsible, then the state was.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 5:45 PM

And Joe, you seem to be missing this point.

The Town/City (South Foulton) was NOT responsible.

The COUNTY (Obidan) was responsible- two SEPARATE entities. The COUNTY through an exercise in sheer stupidity in my opinion opted to charter a volunteer fire company 30 (or more) years ago.

They then proceeded to allocate no initial land or funding for said “fire company”. NO ONE in the county (private citizens) thought to step up and attempt to provide at a minimum a parcel of land upon which to have the fire house.

Some years after that, instead of choosing to enact a levy (tax) or raise an existing one to pay for an initial outlay to cover a house, equipment, etc they then chose instead to CONTRACT with the existing (apparently volunteer) fire company of several cities inside or adjacent to the county.

That was in 1987. Residents of this COUNTY then choose NOT to call (in my case would have been VERY VERY LOUDLY AND VOCIFEROUSLY) for some other course of action by either telling the officials THEY ELECTED to start steps to get a volunteer force started to better protect the rural residents or to again START DOING IT THEMSELVES!

They instead choose to accept the “pay for service” model and those who didn’t pay lost property.

SgtSVJones on October 5, 2010 at 6:16 PM

I would not be one of those people.

I think it was unconscionable to let their home burn over such a paltry amount…especially when the homeowner was willing to pay whatever they wanted for their help.

Pathetic.

powerpro on October 4, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Agreed, it’s such backward behavior.

It’s like Kitty Geneovese being slaughtered on a 1965 darkened Queens street and having her screams ignored by anyone and everyone within earshot.

AprilOrit on October 5, 2010 at 6:19 PM

If the town government wasn’t responsible, then the state was.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 5:45 PM

And Joe, you seem to be missing this point.

The Town/City (South Foulton) was NOT responsible.

Critical reading fail? You seem to be agreeing with me here.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 6:19 PM

The county (or state) has a responsibility to fight fires, period. If they haven’t worked out a way to pay for it, that’s the government’s problem. How much money is in the budget for social workers, teachers unions, and pay raises for DMV workers?

The fire department from the neighboring town may be able to run a “pay for spray” racket, without taking on responsibility for something that happens outside their jurisdiction, but the county and/or state have no such excuse.

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 6:02 PM

The county did set up a system to combat fires. A system specifically set up because the people in the county didn’t want to pay taxes to help finance a standing FD and we’re historically unwilling to pay for services on a per use basis (a less than 50% rate of payment when they had “pay after” service). Gene Cranick just decided he didn’t want to take part in their system. All he was asked in lieu of taxes, to help fund their fire fighting system was a fee of $75/year but that was apparently either too much money or bother.

And by the way, who exactly is this magical “government” you keep talking about. For the record I’m Canadian, but I seem to remember some American saying something about a government being “of the people, by the people”. The government makes policies and laws based on the will of the people it serves. You don’t like the policy, you vote or campaign to change it or run yourself to change it from within. The people of Obion County chose this policy and for better or worse they have to live with it.

But I guess in your world the magical Government comes in with it’s magical money trees to pay for all the people’s wants and desires without the people themselves ever having to make any contribution themselves. Nice place to live I guess, as long as what the “government” thinks is best for you aligns with what you think is best but then again I’m sure nothing bad has ever happened when people surrender their ability to control their own lives to a far removed “government”. I’m guessing it would just be like having an older sibling to take care of you; a big brother if you will.

Bic667 on October 5, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Who’d thought – a 1000+ post thread about something other than Sarah Palin.

katiejane on October 5, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Who’d thought – a 1000+ post thread about something other than Sarah Palin.

katiejane on October 5, 2010 at 6:39 PM

LOL! That was a good post! +1000 or more!

upinak on October 5, 2010 at 6:45 PM

And by the way, who exactly is this magical “government” you keep talking about. For the record I’m Canadian, but I seem to remember some American saying something about a government being “of the people, by the people”.

Yes, I’ll bet that’s exactly what those firefighters were thinking as they watched the house burn down and the fire spread. What good citizens we are!

joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 6:45 PM

but to quote one of the best movie lines ever,“deserves got nothing to do with it”.

ButterflyDragon on October 5, 2010 at 4:46 PM

I reckon so.

Gang-of-One on October 5, 2010 at 7:07 PM

I don’t look like I’m living on the rez anymore ;)

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 4:24 PM

You are going to make me put on the arm condom.. aren’t you! *Screams*

upinak on October 5, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Come on dear. That’s the boss’ job. No way in hell we’d let anyone but the boss stick his whole arm in our cows’ butts!

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Your point is moot, because they did show up, they showed up to prevent the spread of the fire and to make sure it didn’t become a wildfire and become a public emergency. That’s exactly why they showed up, to save lives and prevent the spread.

If they stayed in the barn, you’d have a point, but they didn’t, they responded, and if some person or animal had been at risk, they were prepared and willing to step in.

So if it turns out that dude didn’t have fire insurance, are you willing to tax us all to rebuild his house? You seem willing to risk firefighters lives to save his house, I doubt you’d have any problem trying to reach into my wallet to rebuild it for him.

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Did you actually watch the whole video?? The FD DID stay in the barn until the fire HAD spread to a neighbor’s property who had paid — until that time dispatch and the FD ignored the man’s calls. According to your “Country Folk” vs “City Folk” you “Country Folk” are a heartless self-centered bunch who don’t mind seeing a family’s home — not *house* — their *home* go up in smoke, and will lift nary a finger to help unless they’ve paid up in full. You also have a pretty dim view of country folk. Are they really as shiftless and lazy as you make out?? Here in the suburbs, not quite the city and not quite the country, we know that a burning structure under the right conditions can lead to a run-away grass fire that can consume thousands of acres and scores of homes — paid or not. Are we silly suburban folks just smarter and more compassionate than the shiftless, mean, lazy country folk you’ve conjured up here??

EasyEight on October 5, 2010 at 7:14 PM

The Cranicks said they also forgot to pay their fire service fee on time about three years ago. But the fire department then did not hesitate to put out a chimney fire and let them pay the fee the next day.
~~
So they don’t have to pay for firefighting service. If they start fires every few years big deal, just pay after the fact. Heck, if you don’t have a fire one year, you make out!

Too bad car insurance doesn’t work thata way!

Akzed on October 5, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Calm down…

alwaysfiredup on October 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Ironically funny and good advice.

Gang-of-One on October 5, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Notice that this is how OboobaCare is set up? Don’t pay for health insurance till you get in the ambulance!

Akzed on October 5, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Some things are simply Wrong.

The ‘firefighters’ standing by and doing nothing is one of them.

Period.

TimBuk3 on October 5, 2010 at 7:18 PM

….And the thread exploded.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 7:20 PM

katiejane on October 5, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Or Meghan McCain, or atheism, or DADT.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM

My husband saved a man’s house AND his life-and he never had to go inside.

Was the house 1/3rd involved when you got there?

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 4:45 PM

I’ll overlook the snarky prick-ness tone that comment evokes in my mind when I read it & respond normally by saying the barn that was about 20 ft from his very dry & old house was fully on fire, was consumed within about 20 minutes, & there was no water pressure there (gravity fed well pipe to the house) & no fire trucks that had arrived on the scene yet & my husband thought nothing of jumping out of the pick up when I dropped him off there to help save this man’s home.
If these TN folks are bucking up & admitting that they need to own this, then more power to them on a hard lesson learned.
But in my community, I can garuantee (sp!) you this would never have happened.
Again folks-even if your neighbor is a prick, does a good person stand by & let this kind of thing happen when they could have squirted it out probably pretty quickly from the get go?
They evidently had already showed up-the cost was already pretty much spent.
I think there are other ways to make an example out of someone like this without letting their home burn down.
It’s a really shitty bunch of human being that would stand around & let this happen IMHO.
The govt IMHO is not the issue of outrage here.
The family not paying the stupid fee for however long is not the issue here either.
It’s a bunch of people who showed up to this thing (spending the $$ to drive the hell out there in the 1st place) & watch a home go up in smoke.
It’s disgusting behavior & I am damned glad I don’t live in TN.
Kibbitz all you all want about who paid what etc.
On a PERSONAL COMMUNITY LEVEL these people who stood by & did nothing basically suck for it.
IMHO.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Your point is moot, because they did show up, they showed up to prevent the spread of the fire and to make sure it didn’t become a wildfire and become a public emergency. That’s exactly why they showed up, to save lives and prevent the spread.

If they stayed in the barn, you’d have a point, but they didn’t, they responded, and if some person or animal had been at risk, they were prepared and willing to step in.

So if it turns out that dude didn’t have fire insurance, are you willing to tax us all to rebuild his house? You seem willing to risk firefighters lives to save his house, I doubt you’d have any problem trying to reach into my wallet to rebuild it for him.

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Dear God WTF? I’m sorry. But your nasty heartlessness is really $hitty. Go back if you give a crap & read my posts here. Perhaps you can understand compassion is sometimes a one-way street. Someone just said here that Wrong is wrong.
Standing by & doing nothing during an EMERGENCY is about the crappiest thing a human being can do.
When I help with a grass fire out here in Hicksville ND or jump out of the vehicle to help water down someone’s barn or house, I’m not worried whether I’m going to get sued by them or get paid in any other way.
I’m talking about individuals making a conscious effort to stand by & do nothing when then could have with little or no risk in the 1st place. It’s BS.

Did you actually watch the whole video?? The FD DID stay in the barn until the fire HAD spread to a neighbor’s property who had paid — until that time dispatch and the FD ignored the man’s calls. According to your “Country Folk” vs “City Folk” you “Country Folk” are a heartless self-centered bunch who don’t mind seeing a family’s home — not *house* — their *home* go up in smoke, and will lift nary a finger to help unless they’ve paid up in full. You also have a pretty dim view of country folk. Are they really as shiftless and lazy as you make out?? Here in the suburbs, not quite the city and not quite the country, we know that a burning structure under the right conditions can lead to a run-away grass fire that can consume thousands of acres and scores of homes — paid or not. Are we silly suburban folks just smarter and more compassionate than the shiftless, mean, lazy country folk you’ve conjured up here??

EasyEight on October 5, 2010 at 7:14 PM

EasyEight-I think the point is lost on our friend here.
I personally do not think it decent or Christian at all to watch someone’s house burn down, whether I am employed by the govt FD or whatever else.
It’s an emergency & during an emergency you don’t effing wonder if your gonna get paid & lose $$.
You just act.
These people IMHO suck, as I said earlier.
Terrible way to behave.
And I cannot fathom why anyone would think it was justified.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Calm down…

alwaysfiredup on October 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Ironically funny and good advice.

Gang-of-One on October 5, 2010 at 7:17 PM

LOL!
And my point about the character of the FD individuals & mayor involved were all lost.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

The majority of this thread seems to have been who was MORE at fault, the fire department or the homeowners.

The fact is that they took a risk not paying for the service and (unfortunately) they lost. The fire department, for whatever reason, was unwilling to charge a fee per incident and the homeowners not only lost their home, but everything in it. Honestly, losing a house isn’t what’s devastating, it’s losing all your belongings that are irreplaceable. I can get a new fridge or a new dishwasher (homeowner’s insurance will take care of that), but the stuff that really means something is now gone forever.

I think the ultimate fault lies with the homeowners, because they were not forced to live in an area where fire fighting services were a subscription service. Nor were they forced to make the decision to not pay that fee and forgo fire fighting service.

I am saddened, however, that in order for them to “learn their lesson” they lost absolutely everything.

We can get mad at the fire fighters all we want for their actions, but they didn’t do anything they said they wouldn’t do. You don’t pay the fee, you don’t get the service. Cold and cruel as that is to us, it wasn’t something they came up with on the spot, but rather was the result of a well-established and widely known ordinance.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Here in the suburbs, not quite the city and not quite the country, we know that a burning structure under the right conditions can lead to a run-away grass fire that can consume thousands of acres and scores of homes — paid or not. Are we silly suburban folks just smarter and more compassionate than the shiftless, mean, lazy country folk you’ve conjured up here??

EasyEight on October 5, 2010 at 7:14 PM

A good point. They did show up in order to contain the fire. Frankly, I’m not sure what would be colder. Showing up and saying “Sorry, you didn’t pay the fee so we won’t save the house. We’re only here to make sure it doesn’t spread.” Or what they ended up doing. (i.e. showing up when a “subscriber” called)

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 7:39 PM

LOL!
And my point about the character of the FD individuals & mayor involved were all lost.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Nah, Badger, not really, at least not to those paying attention.

Gang-of-One on October 5, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Frankly, I’m not sure what would be colder. Showing up and saying “Sorry, you didn’t pay the fee so we won’t save the house. We’re only here to make sure it doesn’t spread.” Or what they ended up doing. (i.e. showing up when a “subscriber” called)

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Cold is cold.
I’m thinking that this part of TN needs to look long & hard on this thing.
Bcs it’s very similar to the health care debate.
If someone is in need, no matter their stupid choices in life, do we stand by & let their house burn, do we stand by & let the 10 pack/day smoker die without some kind of medical care bcs he smoked all his life & can’t afford the treatment?
We need to remember why $hit is so expensive in the 1st place: the govt has created so many rules & regulations that it makes it so expensive for a fire truck to roll of the driveway (OSHA, insurance, liability etc), that is makes medical procedure way more expensive than they normally would be bcs of onerous rules & regs, litigious blood sucking lawyers & citizens who have been allowed to run amok, etc.
All of this intrusion is what is responsible for letting a stupid man’s house burn down bcs he chose not to pay a stupid $75 fee every year.
A govt entity (state local what have you) feels it wants to make an example of someone like this by letting their home burn down bcs they are in need of $$ so badly bcs of the trickle down effect that the govt is responsible for in the 1st place.
And I tell you people-it takes decent human beings & leaders to act IN SPITE of those rules & regs & concern for $$ in the govt.
Honestly,at some point, you have to morally hold some of these people in charge of this responsible.
Just bcs something is legal does not make it the right thing to do.
We have lost that understanding in our country.
Bcs we can sit idly by & watch people suffer needlessly when it does not take that much to help them.
This, in the end, is not about $$.
It’s about what money has done to these people.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Unforgivable. Servicemen and women and first responders have a higher calling than money. I’m am truly disgusted.

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 8:06 PM

The county (or state) has a responsibility to fight fires, period. If they haven’t worked out a way to pay for it, that’s the government’s problem. How much money is in the budget for social workers, teachers unions, and pay raises for DMV workers?
joe_doufu on October 5, 2010 at 6:02 PM

In this case, not a lot

I cheated and looked some stuff up.

South Fulton TN and Fulton KY are basically the same city, separated by a stoplight.
Both South Fulton TN and Fulton KY are about as poor as poor can get.
Both have about a total population of 2500 ea.

South Fulton TN
2,517 people, 1,081 households
Median income for a household in the city was $27,462
Median income for a family was $35,608

Fulton KY
2,775 people, 1,225 households
Median income for a household in the city was $23,345
Median income for a family was $27,625

Obion County
32,450 people, 13,182 households
Median income for a household in the county was $32,764
Median income for a family was $40,533.

Bottom line, there’s not much of a tax base there.
Not only is this a poor area, not only is this a multi-city/county situation it is also a multi-state situation with both TN and KY.

Can you say cluster flock?

DSchoen on October 5, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Badger40

Where do you live? I can imagine there are many people who would want a selfless individual like yourself as a neighbor.

I am glad to hear you are a Christian, and that your view of Christianity makes it such that Christians must at all times sacrifice themselves for others who are in need. A non emergency for one person cannot always be considered a non emergency for all others. There are many documented cases of how this is true. From the person who kills himself because he was embarrassed, lost a job, was getting divorced, to the people who have other self inflicted issues because things just did not work out the way they wanted them to. So, I am certain that you have never walked past or drove past a “homeless” person or other beggar, never refused you relatives friends or even strangers of a personal “loan” request.

The emergency for which you attest this person was under was a fire which was destroying his personal property. I am sorry, but loss of property is not an emergency.

The fire department was there to insure that the fire did not spread beyond the uninsured house, and they went into action protecting the property of the insured neighbor.

I just am totally appalled by the number of “conservatives” that think poor planning on the part of one person demands that others take it as an emergency and take action. That is not what any good person would ever teach their children.

While on duty to the FD, the firefighters moral obligation is not to put out fires, it is to perform their job as outlined in their contracts. Their contract stated they should not help this person out, and they did the moral thing, and protected who they were hired to protect.

As individual people, not currently on duty, I am certain that every last one of the fire fighters would have pitched in to help if they just happened to be driving by. That is not the case here.

All of you saying the fire department should have put the fire out had better review just exactly what your morals really are. Because if you do not respect contracts, then you are not a moral individual. Do not try and make me feel bad because you think my idea of moral is just different than yours, true moral judgment is universal.

astonerii on October 5, 2010 at 8:10 PM

And I tell you people-it takes decent human beings & leaders to act IN SPITE of those rules & regs & concern for $$ in the govt

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:04 PM

And no, this is NOT a call for socialism.
The root of the problem is govt.
And then when we are made so dependent on the govt that we do look to them for help, they are not there, for whatever reason.
I personally am just wondering if the fee were so high & onerous, way above $75, & the guy didn’t pay it then would we be singing this same tune?
And should we go the way of paying for police protection?
It’s in the same league as fire protection.
So a subscription svc for police protection is really no different here.
Let’s try that one. Cause anyone who can’t protect themselves, or pay for it, or won’t, deserves to be the victim of a crime, just like the guy that is stupid enough not to pay for fire protection when he knows he needs to deserves to get his house burned down.
I’m just wondering where we end this thing.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Who’d thought – a 1000+ post thread about something other than Sarah Palin.

katiejane on October 5, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Sarah Palin said Todd would have done the manly thing and extinguished the flame with his Super Dude Breath, much like Superman’s ability, only cooler.

Mama Grizzly slogan: Only YOU can prevent unserviceable house fires.

ButterflyDragon on October 5, 2010 at 8:14 PM

You put an awful lot of thought into what your version of galt’s gulch would be. Are you playing Ward Cleaver in the Lifetime version?
Atlas Shrugged was a good book to be sure. But what it didn’t explore was what would happen to people in the Utopian Ideal after they began to age and not be productive. More than likely they would have been asked to leave the gulch since they were not one of the beautiful producing people anymore – “Here is the number of Owen Meany, give him a call…”

Bradky on October 5, 2010 at 6:06 AM

It sounds like you’ve given it a lot more thought than I have actually….

Still you’re probably right, a group of people espousing personal responsibility and hard work probably wouldn’t have any money saved for their retirement.

/sarc Gosh I feel so stupid for not seeing how silly I was.

Seriously though, you can climb down off the soap box now. There is a big difference between correcting someone’s inability to understand the premise of material they fundamentally fail to understand and comment on anyways (ie what I did) and jumping to the conclusion that a person actually believes a utopia could exist as written from that same material (like you did).

Sqrl on October 5, 2010 at 8:14 PM

So, I am certain that you have never walked past or drove past a “homeless” person or other beggar, never refused you relatives friends or even strangers of a personal “loan” request.

That’s not life or limb or loss in an emergency situation.
Kibbitz on the details. Keep going.
If I saw a homeless person being mugged, I’d do what I could. I wouldn’t walk by.
A loan of $$ isn’t the same emergency situation as a house burning down.

The emergency for which you attest this person was under was a fire which was destroying his personal property. I am sorry, but loss of property is not an emergency.

The fire department was there to insure that the fire did not spread beyond the uninsured house, and they went into action protecting the property of the insured neighbor.

I just am totally appalled by the number of “conservatives” that think poor planning on the part of one person demands that others take it as an emergency and take action. That is not what any good person would ever teach their children.

While on duty to the FD, the firefighters moral obligation is not to put out fires, it is to perform their job as outlined in their contracts. Their contract stated they should not help this person out, and they did the moral thing, and protected who they were hired to protect.

As individual people, not currently on duty, I am certain that every last one of the fire fighters would have pitched in to help if they just happened to be driving by. That is not the case here.

All of you saying the fire department should have put the fire out had better review just exactly what your morals really are. Because if you do not respect contracts, then you are not a moral individual. Do not try and make me feel bad because you think my idea of moral is just different than yours, true moral judgment is universal.

astonerii on October 5, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Morals are obviously not transferrable.
You have the moral position in this case that, from what I can gather, is that a burning house does not constitute an emergency-I think it does-you look at fire protection being a purely contractual obligation in this situation-I do not.
And poor planning happens all the time with every one.
A lot of times, the poor planner can bear the brunt of their rotten decision & learn a lesson.
I don’t believe the property owner purposely set fire to their house, did they? Perhaps they did, then why would they want anyone to put it out?
As far as you thinking I’m trying to make you feel bad here, that’s your decision.
I’m not making you do anything.
But it is my personal opinion that your moral stance on this is not very moral in my eyes.
So please feel free to disregard everything I’ve said here.
Bcs after all, it’s my opinion.
I’m entitled to it, as you are yours.
And if you read what I wrote on this thread, then you will understand I do not support any prosecution of the FD people or the mayor for following their contract.
I do fault them for choosing to let this happen.
Sorry if you don’t agree with me.
I can honestly care less. I am free to think that your opinion on this sucks.
Just like the bad TV show you don’t like to watch, don’t respond to me if you don’t like the opinion I have on the subject.
Bcs I’m not going to change it.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:04 PM

astonerii on October 5, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Both of you make excellent points on why this is such a big problem. What is right isn’t always the right thing.

Legally, those firefighters were under no obligation to help. After all, if the service is subscription based, what message would it send that they are saving people’s homes who don’t pay the fee? That the fee wasn’t required? I’m sorry, but fire fighting is an expensive business. Not only for the equipment needed to protect the individual fire fighters but operating costs on a daily basis. If they saved everyone’s homes who didn’t pay the fee, they’d be out of funding really quick and then no one would have this service.

On the other hand, these people stood by and watched as some people lost everything. Yes, they didn’t pay the fee, but when does anyone deserve to lose everything they own over a measly $75?

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:23 PM

And should we go the way of paying for police protection?
It’s in the same league as fire protection.
So a subscription svc for police protection is really no different here.
Let’s try that one. Cause anyone who can’t protect themselves, or pay for it, or won’t, deserves to be the victim of a crime, just like the guy that is stupid enough not to pay for fire protection when he knows he needs to deserves to get his house burned down.
I’m just wondering where we end this thing.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:12 PM

There is no constitutional basis for affirmative duty. It’s a myth.

Bowers v. Devito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982)
There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order.

ButterflyDragon on October 5, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Frankly, if I was there, I’d have done everything in my power to have helped those people. No one deserves to lose everything.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Can you say cluster flock?

DSchoen on October 5, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Interesting #s.
The numbers for Hettinger co in ND where I live seem comparable (don’t know them off hand).
But we are very sparsely populated & our income is very low, maybe lower than the figures you posted.
However, we are living in the breadbasket of this nation,providing probably all of you with some, or all, of the wheat that’s in your bread & pasta products.
And we have a very small infrastructure.
There is a point to the govt using fed tax dollars to create infrastructure.
And I consider a FD to be infrastructure.
If this country were nothing but all roads, all bridges, all police & FD’s being nothing but a for profit entity, we would be kinda hamstrung folks.
Like it or not, the hwy system, for example, revolutionized not only travel in this country, but shipping & commerce.
There is a reason on occasion for govt to provide some services.
I just don’t advocate its abuse, like proving ALL svcs from the cradle to the grave.
And when I say govt, I’m talking local on up.
Rural communities do deserve some services. Maybe not fancy svcs, but something.
Bcs we’re the ones that are feeding your a$$es & we used to be the ones that made your clothes & all other kinds of stuff.
I constantly am getting the feeling these days that citified America is frowning down on their country cousins.
It’s really getting old.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:30 PM

There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order.

ButterflyDragon on October 5, 2010 at 8:24 PM

It’s not the feds job to provide for intrastate protection as far as I am aware.
The state needs to get off of their a$$ & protect its citizens.
The citizens of the state should be doing something about the lack of vital svcs in rural America.
I’m not talking Cadillac svcs.
I’m talking basic.
Like if you call for help, a govt guy will come, whether you paid a fee or not.
I guess if we’re free to form vigilante groups, then problem solved.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:33 PM

Was the house 1/3rd involved when you got there?

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 4:45 PM

So if the neighbor who paid his fee had his house 1/3 invovled, would they have watched it burn decided it wasn’t worth the water?

If they are treating people differently based on fee payment, then it’s just not right. All of your urban/rural arguments mean nothing if they would have acted differently for the neighbor.

If they are a for profit business rather than public servants, then they should have to abide by the same laws we all do. No more speeding to fires, running red lights, etc.

John Deaux on October 5, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:23 PM

Thanks for acknowledging the 2 problems we face here.
Bcs I have been acknowledging the conundrum here, too.
I am not advocating people should be able to thumb their noses at the govt, city, town, local, fed, whatever & get away with getting something for nothing.
But it’s a sad day when good people stand around & watch a bad thing happen bcs something is expensive, or the govt can’t provide a ‘service’ bcs it’s not in the Const.
This has nothing to do with the Const.
This has everything to do with being human.
But by all means, let’s reduce the argument to the sucker gets what he deserves bcs he refused to pay up.
Honestly, I do have neighbors like this.
I know they’d watch my house burn down bcs nothing was in it for them, or the govt told them not to do anything.
My brother in law was a ‘victim’ of the Kraft Springs Fire around Ekalaka MT some yrs back. From what I recall, the Forest Svc had set a control burn that got out of control bcs they waited around to watch it burn until the last minute.
The feds ORDERED the local FD’s & the citizens NOT to engage in fighting the fire, which at that time was on BLM land.
The FD’s said F U & so did the residents.
In fact, the FD’s used their equipment, some of it Forest Svc equipment, ILLEGALLY, to save ranchers’ pastures & homes.
My brother in law lost ALL his grass except for 40 acres around his house.
And he almost lost his house.
Thank God some firefighters acted illegally.
Bcs my bro in law wouldn’t have had a home to go to after the whole thing was all over.

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Exit question: Admit it, you’d try to put the fire out. Wouldn’t you?

NO!

Next time pay the $75. By the way, what does the insurance company say about this?

patch on October 5, 2010 at 8:41 PM

LOL
Typical, he thought he would suck off the system.
To bad, its INSURANCE!
No tickie no shirtie.
DUMB @ss.

ColdWarrior57 on October 5, 2010 at 8:44 PM

Gang-of-One on October 5, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Thanks.
I sometimes feel like your username.
The wilderness can be cruel, unfeeling and dangerous.
I’m gone.
I feel so historic now that I’ve contributed so much to this 1000+ thread.
LOL!

Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:44 PM

This has everything to do with being human.
Badger40 on October 5, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Absolutely.

Honestly, it would have been better for them to have a “per incident fee” as well as the subscription service. Honestly, if I was facing the loss of everything I own, I’d pay a good chunk of cash to save it.

In the end, though. The true test of a person’s character isn’t how they follow the letter of the law, but how they care for their fellow man.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:51 PM

patch on October 5, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Next time I have a fire, you’re not invited :-P

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:52 PM

ColdWarrior57 on October 5, 2010 at 8:44 PM

I believe the term is:

“No tickee no washee.”

But you’re point is clear. Pay for the service, or don’t expect the service.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:54 PM

“If they are treating people differently based on fee payment, then it’s just not right.”

It’s not?

So I can go into McD’s and get free food because other people are paying for it?

So I can decide not to register my vehicle because others are registering theirs?

The entire concept of economics is about people getting what they pay for and those who don’t pay don’t get.

—————————

Yes, the video says they stayed. Along with video of the firefighters in the station.

BUT. . . here’s the problem. The video says they didn’t respond and then showed footage of them in the station. Yet, they were already on scene when other property was threatened? That doesn’t jibe.

The reports also say that they watched it burn. . . can’t do that if you’re back at the barn.

The problem here is the word “respond”. The fact that they didn’t enter this guys property and put out the fire leads one to believe that they didn’t leave the station, yet the evidence shows they did. The second call came in while they were en route, they arrived, they determined that no person was in physical danger, and then they watched.

The reports excerpted above and the video claim simultaneously that they were on the scene and in the barn. The eyewitnesses confirm that they were on the scene and not in the barn.

I’m going to go with the eyewitnesses, the police, the dispatchers and the firemen on this one.

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 8:55 PM

But you’re point is clear. Pay for the service, or don’t expect the service.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:54 PM

(Sigh) “Your”, not “you’re”. Darn it.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Jason Coleman on October 5, 2010 at 8:55 PM

You sum it up quite nicely. The meat and potatoes of this thread is: “Should someone have to face such dire consequences for personal negligence?”

Personally, I’m at a very torn “Yes”.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 9:02 PM

South Fulton FD motto: “Ain’t lost a foundation yet.”

elvis on October 5, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Easy solution. Offer a small all-inclusive annual membership fee. Those who pay the annual fee will be provided with service at no extra cost when an emergency arises. For those who like to live dangerously and not pay the annual fee, offer them the “existing condition” option — a large fee (say, 10-20 times the annual rate) service available the day the odds finally catch up with them.

If Mr. Cranick had been hit with a $2K bill for fire services when he had the chimney fire, I’m guessing he’d have never missed a fee again.

CJ on October 5, 2010 at 9:52 PM

RegularJoe on October 5, 2010 at 3:41 PM

I’m right there with you, man.

eforhan on October 5, 2010 at 9:55 PM

This thread has some of the most callused and ridiculous arguments I have ever heard. This was not about being liberal or conservative. It didn’t have a damn thing to do with politics at all. It had to do with being a damn human being and just freaking caring.

I hope none of you make any bad decisions in your lives. Because, oh well. You knew the rules.

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Which is to say, why not simply levy a $75 tax on everyone to force them to pay for fire coverage?

That’s the way it works where I live. We live in a tax district and once a year we pay a tax that is levied on our property to fund the rural fire department. There used to be places in the county that were not part of a fire protection district. Guess what if there was a fire they didn’t respond. Unless you had $500.00 to pay up front. Simple as that. You pay a tax for the service. If they started making an exception there and one there then who in their right mind would pay the yearly fee? They will put it out anyway. Oh ya, I know why, if they didn’t force people to pay they wouldn’t have money for personel and equipment.

This thread has some of the most callused and ridiculous arguments I have ever heard. This was not about being liberal or conservative. It didn’t have a damn thing to do with politics at all. It had to do with being a damn human being and just freaking caring.

I hope none of you make any bad decisions in your lives. Because, oh well. You knew the rules.

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 10:18 PM

I’m sorry, ok actually I’m not, but, I don’t feel for the guy. Pay your taxes and you will get the services your taxes are used to provide. Don’t pay and don’t get the service. How many times do people on this thread complain about “freeloaders”? That’s what this guy was doing. Why should someone else pay for his fire protection? If he wanted it he should have paid for it. He made a decision and now he gets to deal with the consequences of that decision.

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 10:32 PM

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 10:18 PM

I agree with you. However, the simple fact is that people have to deal with consequences of their decisions. These people chose, of their own volition, not to pay for the service. Just like someone who didn’t pay for flood insurance and was flooded is out of luck. So are these people…except their home was presumably covered by homeowner’s insurance.

I really feel for these people and, honestly, I wouldn’t have stood by as their possessions burned without doing something to help them. However, they made the choice and the consequences weren’t arbitrary, but a result of a policy that was quite public.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Is this something new? I’ve never heard of paying a fee for firemen to put out a house fire. Kinda has my feeble mind boggled.

It’s like paying a yearly fee for 9-1-1 service, and if you didn’t, they won’t help you.

And would the firemen have just stood by if there were people/kids still trapped in the house? Seems like there are a lot of “if’s” to consider.

JetBoy on October 4, 2010 at 9:35 PM

You to pay a fee for 911. Look at your phone bill sometime. I know here in Colorado there is a 911 tax on every phone bill. So, ya, you do pay a fee for 911 service.

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 10:41 PM

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 10:32 PM

What, oily rags in the garage. Holy Christ was that stupid. Well, you got what was coming to you. What, you weren’t insured for lightning strikes? Oops, your policy doesn’t cover that? You should have thought ahead. Not my problem.

Why do we admire perfect strangers who put themselves in harms way, expecting nothing in return for their heroics. Oh, what? We don’t anymore? They’re suckaz?

oh

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 10:56 PM

It’s a tough deal.

Obama would be happy to take over every fire department in America. Of course it would cost $300 or more a year instead of $75 a year.

Obama would mandate that pre-existing fires would be covered and your children would be covered under the parent’s fire protection until they were 26 years old as well.

Gee, this is starting to sound familiar, and unpopular.

RJL on October 5, 2010 at 10:56 PM

For those late to the party and suggesting they just should have a higher charge for people who didn’t pay the $75 or some type of levy that’s already been explained, numerous times.

They used to have a fee system of $500 per incident with no up front costs, meaning you only pay of the FD is called in and has to put out a fire on your property. The problem, the residents of the county failed to pay over %50 of the time. So since the FD is officially in the municipality of South Fulton (which the FD serves without a fee as it is paid for with property taxes) while the people using the fee service were not, the SFFD had no legal recourse to recover the costs which meant the 2500 residents of SF were paying for the FD for a large portion of Obion County with absolutely no compensation. That’s why they instituted the annual upfront $75 instead.

And as for a levy, the residents of Obion County have always had that option but have refused to take it. Small counties across the US routinely raise levies for things like contracting FD services but the people of Obion County apparently didn’t want it and instead opted for the options yearly fee.

For better or worse the SFFD treat fires exactly like hospitals in the US treat patients; the SFFD will enter a burning structure if a life is at risk, regardless of payment (like ER visits), but when it comes to just a case of prevention of property damage (which may be devastating to the family but IS NOT life threatening), they will not risk their lives unless you either live within their jurisdiction or have contracted them for FD services.

Bic667 on October 5, 2010 at 11:02 PM

“If they are treating people differently based on fee payment, then it’s just not right.”

It’s not?

So I can go into McD’s and get free food because other people are paying for it?

So I can decide not to register my vehicle because others are registering theirs?

The entire concept of economics is about people getting what they pay for and those who don’t pay don’t get.

McD’s isn’t a public service and if your car catches fire after your registration lapses, the FD won’t sit on the side of the road and watch it burn.

Most of us pay for these services through our property taxes. Let’s say I haven’t paid my taxes and they are now overdue. Does the FD respond when I call 911 or do they tell me to tough it out?

I’m not saying the homeowner is right. He is obviously negligent and should have been charged a fine just for them having to come out because of him. Stupid should be painful. However, the FD was also negligent.

John Deaux on October 5, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Why do we admire perfect strangers who put themselves in harms way, expecting nothing in return for their heroics. Oh, what? We don’t anymore? They’re suckaz?

oh

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 10:56 PM

What are you talking about? The guy didn’t pay his fair share because he thought they would come anyway and when they didn’t we are supposed to feel sorry for him and be harsh on those who do put themselves in harms way? What do the other home owners in the area owe this guy that THEY should pay for HIS fire protection? He didn’t pay, they don’t put the fire out it’s that simple. I’m sure that had someone been trapped they would have responded and rescued the person if possible. If he didn’t purchase home owners insurance should we have insurance companies pitch in to pay for a new house for him? No, of course not. Why should fire protection be any different? It takes money to have a fire protection district and if they made an exception for him do they make an exception for everyone? At what point does that stop? When the district goes broke because they don’t have any revenue coming in? Why do we in the US have this attitude that the government should take care of every little thing in our lives and we don’t have to be responsible for ourselves?

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:07 PM

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Oh, I guess I misjudged the basic premise. What was I thinking. My God you’re right. Let it burn. And if he tries to put it out himself and dies, well damn. He just had it coming to him.

Thanks for squaring me away.

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 11:13 PM

I guess I should also note why I feel like I do. I used to work for an ambulance company that was started by the county but, the service itself was to be self funding and it rented the ambulances that the county purchased. It was to be fully self supporting and was staffed mostly by part-time paid per call employees. We didn’t get paid much which was ok. However, because it’s healthcare we have to respond and transport. They obviously don’t have the option that this FD had. Needless to say medicare/medicaide doesn’t pay nearly what it really should when they are billed and many other patients pay very little. So, now the service is in dire straights financially and we may have to start paying tax money to fund it. This plan the FD has is a very good one and 75 a year is cheap fire protection. Why should it be placed in the same financial crisis that our ambulance service is in because people simply don’t pay. Either pay, or don’t depend on the service. You can’t get it for free, it’s simple economics.

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Oh, I guess I misjudged the basic premise. What was I thinking. My God you’re right. Let it burn. And if he tries to put it out himself and dies, well damn. He just had it coming to him.

Thanks for squaring me away.

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 11:13 PM

He elected by his own free will not to pay for the protection. Doing so he placed himself and his property at risk. He’s a big boy he made the decision. I understand that if you had been the chief you would have fought the fire anyway and I respect that. I also respect the decision the actual fire chief made. I also understand what he is going through as my grandparent home burned this past January. They were in a fire protection disrict and the fire was fought however, they lost their home anyway. So, you see, even if they do fight the fire it is likely all will be lost anyway. If not to the fire then to the thousands of gallons of water that they drench the structure with.

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:20 PM

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 11:13 PM

I really can empathize with you. It’s stupid and terrible, but it’s a fact of life. Normally, property taxes will cover services like this. In this situation, fire fighting is treated as a subscription service and you can either pay or not. They chose not to pay. Unfortunately, they needed the service when their home and all their possessions were burning to the ground.

The human thing would have been to help them and to try and save what they could. Unfortunately, in the imperfect word we live in in which people are unaccountable, lines need to be drawn.

The result of which is that these poor people are suffering as the result of a mere $75.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 11:30 PM

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:20 PM

Half of my relatives in PA work for volunteer FDs in small communities like Unityville and Jersey Shore. This story, regardless of the behavior of those home owners, would sicken them.

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 11:33 PM

Which side of the issue you fall on basically comes down to whether or not you have common sense, have genuine concern for being kind, and have an intuitive understanding of why the Good Samaritan was considered good in the first place.

What’s funny is that everyone, no matter which side they are on, knows which side the most decent among us are on.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 5, 2010 at 11:34 PM

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 11:13 PM

As I’m sure you know. Life is unfair.

My heart breaks for these people. But like people who haven’t paid for flood insurance and get flooded, the world says “oh well, you should have seen it coming”.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 11:35 PM

hawkdriver on October 5, 2010 at 11:33 PM

For some people. Service above self is its own reward.

For me, I’m just trying to emulate those people.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 11:36 PM

It turns out, though, that the fire department in Tennessee was not a private for-profit fire department. It was a government-run fire department. You read that right: the fire department that refused to show up and refused to name a price at which it would show up was run by the government of South Fulton.

Oh. I hadn’t seen it this way before …

Heartless government bureaucrats“Death Panels” for homes no less

J_Crater on October 5, 2010 at 11:48 PM

What’s funny is that everyone, no matter which side they are on, knows which side the most decent among us are on.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 5, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Which side is that? I worked as an EMT and helped save lives yet, I side with the decision the fire chief made. So, am I a decent human being or not? How can any of us decide who among us is the most decenct from this one event?

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM

The simple fact i that there is no “right” answer.

Do you side with the people who lost everything and didn’t pay the fee? Even though doing so may undercut the fire Department’s funding and keep others from suffering the same fate?

Do you side with the Fire Department and condemn people to lose their cherished and irreplaceable goods? Is $75 worth that?

The answer is both and neither.

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Is $75 worth that?

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 11:57 PM

I understand what you are saying but, apparently the home owner didn’t think it was worth 75 bucks. Though I’m sure he probably had the same attitude that many folks have, “It won’t happen to me”.

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:01 AM

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:01 AM

The irony is that $75 is such an insignificant fee to save your possessions and your home. They made the choice to not pay it and, unfortunately, they lost the gamble.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 12:06 AM

Which side is that? I worked as an EMT and helped save lives yet, I side with the decision the fire chief made. So, am I a decent human being or not? How can any of us decide who among us is the most decenct from this one event?

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM

Good Samaritans are people who help others in need when they have the means to do so, regardless of any reward they may receive, are they not? Aren’t Good Samaritans more decent than non-Good Samaritans?

Anyone who’d get offended and/or defensive about what I said is not one of the most decent among us. Not only that, they are pretty stupid, too.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM

The irony is that $75 is such an insignificant fee to save your possessions and your home. They made the choice to not pay it and, unfortunately, they lost the gamble.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 12:06 AM

Can’t you just feel the love that Social Darwinists, who see everything through a material rather than a spiritual lens, exude? I know I can! :)

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Well I certainly love it when people see things as purely one-dimensional That is either one way or the other.

The correct answer in this situation is that there is no correct answer. Both sides were wrong. If I was the homeowner, I would have paid the $75. If I was one of the firefighters, I would have done everything in my power to help those people.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Anyone who’d get offended and/or defensive about what I said is not one of the most decent among us. Not only that, they are pretty stupid, too.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM

I didn’t say I was offended. I was simply making the point that you can’t judge who is a more moral person from one singular incident. Though, I also understand that what you were saying is that every one thinks that their opinion is the right one.

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:22 AM

What’s funny is that everyone, no matter which side they are on, knows which side the most decent among us are on.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 5, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Which side is that? I worked as an EMT and helped save lives yet, I side with the decision the fire chief made. So, am I a decent human being or not? How can any of us decide who among us is the most decenct from this one event?

boomer on October 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM

No, boomer; being decent in this case requires harshly judging a fire chief from a 2500 person town for not providing unlimited service to a 30,000 person county that doesn’t contribute to the town fire department. If you don’t think he is as bad as Hitler, for showing fiscal responsibility to keep his department in operation, then you are evil. It is also necessary that all unknowns be assumed to be whatever would show him and his firefighters to be the most uncaring.

And bear in mind that no other acts, no matter how selfless, can redeem you from your state of utter corruption. Your failure to condemn a man for making a difficult decision in a way that others disagree with shows you for the lout you are. Truly, if you have even a shred of humanity left, the best thing you could do is throw yourself in front of a bus.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM

BTW, I do know what a good samaritan is. The question I have is if the firemen put out his fire anyway do they then become enablers to others who also want a free ride and expect the fire to be put out anyway. What kind of legal ramifications will there be if they put out his fire but the next year five people don’t pay to opt in and they have fires. Do they then also put out their fires? What if they don’t? Have they then set themselves up for legal action because they protected that man’s opted out property but no theirs?

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:26 AM

Truly, if you have even a shred of humanity left, the best thing you could do is throw yourself in front of a bus.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Dude, where have you been? We could have had this debate settled hours ago! :-)

Darned if you do, darned if you don’t. Double jeopardy is the name of the game!

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 12:27 AM

Truly, if you have even a shred of humanity left, the best thing you could do is throw yourself in front of a bus.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Okay if I must. But, I haven’t opted into my ambulance service so should I go to town to do it? :)

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:27 AM

A good point. They did show up in order to contain the fire. Frankly, I’m not sure what would be colder. Showing up and saying “Sorry, you didn’t pay the fee so we won’t save the house. We’re only here to make sure it doesn’t spread.” Or what they ended up doing. (i.e. showing up when a “subscriber” called)

Rightwingguy on October 5, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I can’t fathom any FD sitting on its ass while a fire is burning that could get out of control — the story says that it wasn’t until it had *already spread* that they rolled out to the site. Criminy — under the right kind of wind conditions with all that dry grass and fuel seen on the video, WHOOMMM!! and you’ve got yourself a major brush fire consuming thousands of acres, scores of homes and endangering lives. Then ya have to get the State in there, water bombers, fire crews working fire breaks, the whole nine yards…all because some dumb-nuts city manager is demanding a $75 fee and the local FD decided to sit around and wait until the paying customer called in. Yep. That makes sense. For want of a $75 fee millions of dollars of damage and resources could be expended. Brilliant.

@badger40

EasyEight-I think the point is lost on our friend here.
I personally do not think it decent or Christian at all to watch someone’s house burn down, whether I am employed by the govt FD or whatever else.
It’s an emergency & during an emergency you don’t effing wonder if your gonna get paid & lose $$.
You just act.

You got it. And next time if the homeowner is incoherent because they’ve been injured and the structure is burning?? Well, just hang up, eh city dispatch? They didn’t pay their fee, say the absolutists here, so the heck with them, I guess.

EasyEight on October 6, 2010 at 12:31 AM

This is kind of winding down, and I’m sorry I missed out on such a lively debate. I left at about page five and read the rest of it during the day.

I just wanted to finish off by touching on two issues that I think are the most important.

#1. Somehow this reflects badly on free-market principles.
#2. If he didn’t pay, he shouldn’t get services.

#1… In my eyes, clearly this has little or nothing to do with the free market. The problem was the result of government from top to bottom. People, left on their own, will generally do what is right by their neighbors, including help even the most unpleasant of us when push comes to shove.

Had it not been for government interference in this matter, the man’s home would have been saved. The firefighters were told that unless the government fee had been paid, they were not to perform any services. And so they didn’t. Had this been a truly private business, the owner would have paid a far greater sum, and the fire would have been taken care of, and if it were entirely voluntary, the firemen would have done what they felt was their duty. Instead the government puts its giant hand in the way, and, as usual, causes more trouble than good.

#2… Sure, he didn’t pay this particular fee to this particular government body. And so no “fire protection.” What many of you don’t seem to get, is that a whole lot of us are taxed out, fee’d out, regulated out, lawed out. Community fire fighting has been going on since the dawn of time, and it’s one of those basic things that government either needs to get right, or get out of the way of. Clearly in this case it was unable to do either.

We fund all sorts of levels of government doing all sorts of things, and what does the average taxpayer see out of it? Very little. We support the poor, the illegal, the criminal… we support the world.

And still, when it’s all said and done, something as simple as a fire can’t be put out. The answer isn’t, “Well, maybe he’s been paying, but he didn’t pay to them.” Because that thinking is part of the problem.

We really need to understand that government causes that thinking, that it’s just one more tax, one more fee, and life will be better, when the reality is just the opposite.

There are no free rides, as many of you have said, and you’re right. But many of us haven’t been riding for free. We’ve been paying the gas for years and have been left on the curb.

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Well I certainly love it when people see things as purely one-dimensional That is either one way or the other.

The correct answer in this situation is that there is no correct answer. Both sides were wrong. If I was the homeowner, I would have paid the $75. If I was one of the firefighters, I would have done everything in my power to help those people.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 12:18 AM

Good Samaritan mentality > non-Good Samaritan mentality. Is that too simplistic and one-dimensional for you?

When you get right down to it, that guy was punished because he didn’t pay a protection fee to the fire department. Uncreative, impossibly unreasonable people who believe that that kind of punishment is the best course of action are not worth taking seriously enough on an intellectual level to debate.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I didn’t say I was offended. I was simply making the point that you can’t judge who is a more moral person from one singular incident. Though, I also understand that what you were saying is that every one thinks that their opinion is the right one.

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:22 AM

You aren’t right on a single one of your thoughts here. Good job!!!

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Good Samaritan mentality > non-Good Samaritan mentality. Is that too simplistic and one-dimensional for you?
Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I’m sorry, I missed the point where this family was forced to reside in a county where such fees were applicable. And also forced to not pay them.

I have also said that what happened to them was quite terrible. And if I was a member of the FD, then I would have done everything in my power to save that man’s home because no on deserves that, no one. Not for $75, not for $750,000.

The world is full of choices. Good ones and bad ones. Clearly he made a bad one and saying otherwise is ignoring the obvious. I’ve made bad decisions and I’ve never had a knight in shining armor to save me.

Also, saying that this family deserved what happened to them is inhuman. No one deserves that sort of treatment.

Equating the world into good versus bad also ignores the fact that good people don’t always do good things. Where is the fire department supposed to get funding to save people if no one pays the fees? So this might have been a one-off thing. What happens when the next family forgets to pay? Or the next one or the next?

Honestly, if this was a mistake made in good faith, I’d feel differently. As it stands I see that this family knew that there was a fee due, chose not to pay it, and when a fire came, expected it to be taken care of, no problemo. Unfortunately, the FD had no policy to pay per incident and as a result, this family lost everything.

I blame both sides.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 1:22 AM

No, boomer; being decent in this case requires harshly judging a fire chief from a 2500 person town for not providing unlimited service to a 30,000 person county that doesn’t contribute to the town fire department. If you don’t think he is as bad as Hitler, for showing fiscal responsibility to keep his department in operation, then you are evil. It is also necessary that all unknowns be assumed to be whatever would show him and his firefighters to be the most uncaring.

And bear in mind that no other acts, no matter how selfless, can redeem you from your state of utter corruption. Your failure to condemn a man for making a difficult decision in a way that others disagree with shows you for the lout you are. Truly, if you have even a shred of humanity left, the best thing you could do is throw yourself in front of a bus.

RegularJoe on October 6, 2010 at 12:23 AM

This was comical, but not quite the way you intended; the seriousness with which you people take yourselves is hilarious! :D

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 1:23 AM

BTW, I do know what a good samaritan is. The question I have is if the firemen put out his fire anyway do they then become enablers to others who also want a free ride and expect the fire to be put out anyway. What kind of legal ramifications will there be if they put out his fire but the next year five people don’t pay to opt in and they have fires. Do they then also put out their fires? What if they don’t? Have they then set themselves up for legal action because they protected that man’s opted out property but no theirs?

boomer on October 6, 2010 at 12:26 AM

Oh, you do, huh? Then how come the rest of your post contradicts that? Irony indeed!

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 1:25 AM

This has nothing to do with being a “decent human being”.

It has EVERYTHING to do with inducing a moral hazard. This country is in the straits we find ourselves in because too often we ignore when moral hazards are induced. This is an area where over HALF the time, folks were refusing to pay AFTER their property was saved. These are not angels.

So an alternate plan was developed to pay for the firefighters and equipment that doesn’t grow on trees. Protection was available for CHEAP and yet these skinflints decided they still wanted a free ride.

Putting the fire out after they had refused to carry their own weight, or get a charitable person to do it for them, would have induced the moral hazard to encourage everyone else to not pay next year.

This was not a tragedy or an emergency, it was nearly criminal levels of either stupidity or more likely cupidity on the part of these homeowners. They are the ones who decided their home was worth less than $75, not the FD.

Do you think folks are going to skip out on paying their fair share next year?

VekTor on October 6, 2010 at 1:31 AM

Quick scenario:

You come home to find your house being burglarized.
You call the police, and a squad is sent.
Upon arrival, they discover that, in error, your house is actually on the boundary of two jurisdictions. They inform you that they are unable to assist you at this point.
“But hey… I’m a taxpayer!” You protest, watching the burglar carry your possessions away. “I pay your salary!”
“Oh no,” you’re told. “You live in Walhallie. We’re officers from Vivera. You don’t pay our salaries at all. We can’t help you, I’m sorry.”

We’re all cool with this, or no?

It may seem a little far fetched, but I had a very similar incident happen to me years ago involving district lines and a series of phone calls where everyone thought the problem belonged to someone else.

I don’t see a significant difference between this scenario and the one involving the firefighters, but I’d guess most people would be horrified at the above.

Anyone?

12thMonkey on October 6, 2010 at 1:47 AM

Equating the world into good versus bad also ignores the fact that good people don’t always do good things. Where is the fire department supposed to get funding to save people if no one pays the fees? So this might have been a one-off thing. What happens when the next family forgets to pay? Or the next one or the next?

Honestly, if this was a mistake made in good faith, I’d feel differently. As it stands I see that this family knew that there was a fee due, chose not to pay it, and when a fire came, expected it to be taken care of, no problemo. Unfortunately, the FD had no policy to pay per incident and as a result, this family lost everything.

I blame both sides.

Rightwingguy on October 6, 2010 at 1:22 AM

Since I am not dividing the world into good vs. bad like you seem to think I am, this shouldn’t be directed at me the way it is. Just because some people are more moral than others doesn’t mean that those they are more moral than are immoral.

Cranick didn’t pay his $75. Yep, that wasn’t right, but to to compare his non-payment of the firefighting fee to not buying car or flood insurance, and to not lift a finger while his house was burning over his stupid inaction? Sheesh. That’s far more indecent than what Cranick did. That kind of simple-mindededness is akin to zero-tolerance principals who aren’t smart enough to distinguish between a thug with a gun, and a Boy Scout who accidently leaves some camping knives in his car after a weekend outing. Some people just aren’t mentally/emotionally fit for positions of authority.

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 2:13 AM

This was comical, but not quite the way you intended; the seriousness with which you people take yourselves is hilarious! :D

Bizarro No. 1 on October 6, 2010 at 1:23 AM

You make some good strong points. This ain’t one of ‘em.

From all that I’ve read this is like the pot calling the kettle black. Nobody you’ve engaged with has anything on you went it comes to taking themselves hilariously serious.

Gang-of-One on October 6, 2010 at 2:15 AM

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