No Pay, No Spray: Firefighters Let Tennessee Home Burn Because Homeowner ‘Forgot’ to Pay $75 Fee

Photo Courtesty of punkpatriot on Etsy

Photo courtesy of punkpatriot on Etsy

I saw the man in question, Gene Cranick, interviewed on Countdown with Keith Olbermann earlier in the week. Seems a bit insane to not just collect the fee (plus some penalty) after putting out the fire. Via MSNBC:

Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee. Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat.

“They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn’t do it,” Cranick told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. The fire started when the Cranicks’ grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.

“We wasn’t on their list,” he said the operators told him. Cranick, who lives outside the city limits, admits he “forgot” to pay the annual $75 fee. The county does not have a county-wide firefighting service, but South Fulton offers fire coverage to rural residents for a fee.

Cranick says he told the operator he would pay whatever is necessary to have the fire put out. His offer wasn’t accepted, he said. The fire fee policy dates back 20 or so years.

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  • What_Tha

    Welcome to last week.

  • LJSearles

    Welcome to last week.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    75 dollar a year fee service…or a couple bucks a year in homeowner taxes…hmmmm

    …taxes and civil service/servants : FTW!

    …privatization and free markets : an hero.

    • Richard

      Definitely time to get off the partisanship BS that’s driving everyone apart. As someone who lives in Canada, this kind of system is appalling, yet there are those in our government who’d like nothing more than to privatize the hell out of everything.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    75 dollar a year fee service…or a couple bucks a year in homeowner taxes…hmmmm

    …taxes and civil service/servants : FTW!

    …privatization and free markets : an hero.

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com/ Silver Fang

    That’s why I’m leery of the idea of privatizing vital services such as fire and ambulance. Imagine being denied an ambulance ride during a heart attack because you forgot to pay.

    • Synapse

      Or if you hadn’t paid life insurance for years and then when someone dies paying this month’s fee to try to collect.

      This guy, if you read the article, REFUSED to pay after being notified and warned many times, and in places where the local government can’t afford to pay for fire fighting, you need to pay for the equipment and volunteers, etc.

      • Cavocorax

        Exactly! If he doesn’t pay for the fire service, yet still gets protection when disaster strikes and he needs it, why should anyone else pay their $75 fee? It’s not fair to the other home owners that he’s free-riding off everyone else’s fees.

        Perhaps if the firefighters had the option to accept a $10,000 fee on the spot (or something like that) then both sides would win. Those in rural commnities who don’t pay their fees and then suddently realise they should can still salvage their house, but at a much higher cost.

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    That’s why I’m leery of the idea of privatizing vital services such as fire and ambulance. Imagine being denied an ambulance ride during a heart attack because you forgot to pay.

  • http://twitter.com/LaunchpadBB Beldam

    He had it coming. Pay as you go cannot support a fire department. May be fine for cell plans where you can re-up at the local Wal-Mart, but he knew he didn’t pay. I’m sorry for the loss of his animals, but come on. If you’re going to be obstinate and not pay your fire fee, which you know exists, at least make sure your grandson isn’t being a complete dolt and burning garbage close to the house. Willing to bet he doesn’t pay his town dump fee either and thus has to burn all his garbage.

  • http://twitter.com/LaunchpadBB Beldam

    He had it coming. Pay as you go cannot support a fire department. May be fine for cell plans where you can re-up at the local Wal-Mart, but he knew he didn’t pay. I’m sorry for the loss of his animals, but come on. If you’re going to be obstinate and not pay your fire fee, which you know exists, at least make sure your grandson isn’t being a complete dolt and burning garbage close to the house. Willing to bet he doesn’t pay his town dump fee either and thus has to burn all his garbage.

    • Haystack

      And as for his neighbors who did pay the fee, they get to see their property taxes plummet because they live next to a rubble heap in a town that now widely recognized for having douchbags as public servants. They got their $75 worth, huh?

      • Haystack

        **property values.

      • Sacredenginex

        it’s rural Tennessee, the neighbors are probably miles away

  • Haystack

    And as for his neighbors who did pay the fee, they get to see their property taxes plummet because they live next to a rubble heap in a town that now widely recognized for having douchbags as public servants. They got their $75 worth, huh?

  • Haystack

    **property values.

  • Blackoutdustin

    isn’t this the entire reason we HAVE governments? police and infrastructure and so forth?

  • Blackoutdustin

    isn’t this the entire reason we HAVE governments? police and infrastructure and so forth?

  • Mr Mojo Risin

    Privitization, No!
    Equal protection for all, Si!

  • Mr Mojo Risin

    Privitization, No!
    Equal protection for all, Si!

  • negator

    this is not privatization. there was no market competition at work here, just some misguided examples of “only following orders” who should be removed. they stood there and watched it burn. think about it. they stood there, and watched. it. burn.

    • Haystack

      Exactly. If they want to operate on business principles, then they should be open to losing their jobs to a competing fire company.

  • negator

    this is not privatization. there was no market competition at work here, just some misguided examples of “only following orders” who should be removed. they stood there and watched it burn. think about it. they stood there, and watched. it. burn.

  • Synapse

    Or if you hadn’t paid life insurance for years and then when someone dies paying this month’s fee to try to collect.

    This guy, if you read the article, REFUSED to pay after being notified and warned many times, and in places where the local government can’t afford to pay for fire fighting, you need to pay for the equipment and volunteers, etc.

  • Sacredenginex

    it’s rural Tennessee, the neighbors are probably miles away

  • oman28

    A more humanitarian approach would be:
    If you pay the $75 fee and we will respond. If you don’t pay the fee we will still respond but you will receive a fine that is at least the same amount as the service provided.
    In Australia we have an ambulance ‘levy’ which is automatically added to our electricity bill. And everyone pays.

    • Richard

      But that’s taxes, and it’s EVIL!!!! Even if it helps the community as a whole because in a culture that’s been so brainwashed to believe that it’s everyone for himself and anything to do with giving up a tiny portion of your income for a civil service is socialism and that’s evil. If children had been trapped in that building, and the firefighters did nothing, I would like to think that they’d be charged with some kind of murder.

      • oman28

        I agree. A blatant tax which I was opposed to – but have no choice but to pay.
        And yes if a firefighter or paramedic stands by while someone dies they should be charged. That is why I suggested a more humanitarian approach.

    • Haystack

      That’s exactly how it works if you show up to an emergency room uninsured. They still save your life, but you then owe them thousands and thousands. Clearly they could have done that in this instance, but they chose not to.

      • ralph

        Haystack, in this instance the fine according to oman28 would be roughly $150 which I think is reasonable. I agree with you on medical costs being completely ridiculous when in need of attention without insurance … no argument there. One wonders what light this situation in Tennessee will shed on health care … and obviously basic civil services many of us do unfortunately not think enough about where it comes from … and society in general.

  • Anonymous

    A more humanitarian approach would be:
    If you pay the $75 fee and we will respond. If you don’t pay the fee we will still respond but you will receive a fine that is at least the same amount as the service provided.
    In Australia we have an ambulance ‘levy’ which is automatically added to our electricity bill. And everyone pays.

  • Richard

    Definitely time to get off the partisanship BS that’s driving everyone apart. As someone who lives in Canada, this kind of system is appalling, yet there are those in our government who’d like nothing more than to privatize the hell out of everything.

  • Cavocorax

    Exactly! If he doesn’t pay for the fire service, yet still gets protection when disaster strikes and he needs it, why should anyone else pay their $75 fee? It’s not fair to the other home owners that he’s free-riding off everyone else’s fees.

    Perhaps if the firefighters had the option to accept a $10,000 fee on the spot (or something like that) then both sides would win. Those in rural commnities who don’t pay their fees and then suddently realise they should can still salvage their house, but at a much higher cost.

  • Richard

    But that’s taxes, and it’s EVIL!!!! Even if it helps the community as a whole because in a culture that’s been so brainwashed to believe that it’s everyone for himself and anything to do with giving up a tiny portion of your income for a civil service is socialism and that’s evil. If children had been trapped in that building, and the firefighters did nothing, I would like to think that they’d be charged with some kind of murder.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. A blatant tax which I was opposed to – but have no choice but to pay.
    And yes if a firefighter or paramedic stands by while someone dies they should be charged. That is why I suggested a more humanitarian approach.

  • http://spiritnewsdaily.com/ Donovan Moore

    Some people need to learn the hard way. This guy is NO victim. He chose not to pay $75, like his neighbors did. Then he expected to get this service he didn’t want to pay for. Why should we feel sympathy for him? Life can be tough. But he is no innocent victim. And I bet next time he will pay his bills.

    • gemmarama

      i think it’s tragic that we’ve got to the point where people regard not having your home destroyed by fire as a “service”.

      have a fucking heart.

    • Haystack

      And the firefighters who did nothing are not heroes, nor civil servants, and should not be given any more special recognition by the community where they do business than the FedEx man or the tow truck driver. If they cannot make a profit fighting fires, they should lose their jobs; no go’vt funding, no charity raffles or benefits.

      Most fire departments survive on the good will of the communities they serve. If these guys want to turn firefighting into a business and sacrifice their relationship with the public on the altar of profit motive, then I wish them luck.

  • http://dmipr.com/ Donovan Moore

    Some people need to learn the hard way. This guy is NO victim. He chose not to pay $75, like his neighbors did. Then he expected to get this service he didn’t want to pay for. Why should we feel sympathy for him? Life can be tough. But he is no innocent victim. And I bet next time he will pay his bills.

  • gemmarama

    i think it’s tragic that we’ve got to the point where people regard not having your home destroyed by fire as a “service”.

    have a fucking heart.

  • Arcocelli

    this just didn’t come out of the blue. The city has had problems for some time with people not paying. They tried going ahead and putting out fires and then charging additional fees, which were rarely paid. The FD can’t run without money. They decided they finally had to make an example out of someone to get people to realize if they didn’t pay, they would have to deal with the consequences. It stinks but I’m not sure what else could solve the situation. They already tried cutting people slack and were taken advantage of.

    • Haystack

      “I’m not sure what else could solve the situation.”

      Tax, like just about everywhere else.

  • Arcocelli

    this just didn’t come out of the blue. The city has had problems for some time with people not paying. They tried going ahead and putting out fires and then charging additional fees, which were rarely paid. The FD can’t run without money. They decided they finally had to make an example out of someone to get people to realize if they didn’t pay, they would have to deal with the consequences. It stinks but I’m not sure what else could solve the situation. They already tried cutting people slack and were taken advantage of.

  • Cheesefania

    Here’s hoping the “sucks to be you” approach to civil services doesn’t trickle out of rural Tennesee into the rest of our backyards.

  • Cheesefania

    Here’s hoping the “sucks to be you” approach to civil services doesn’t trickle out of rural Tennesee into the rest of our backyards.

  • Haystack

    “I’m not sure what else could solve the situation.”

    Tax, like just about everywhere else.

  • Haystack

    Exactly. If they want to operate on business principles, then they should be open to losing their jobs to a competing fire company.

  • Haystack

    That’s exactly how it works if you show up to an emergency room uninsured. They still save your life, but you then owe them thousands and thousands. Clearly they could have done that in this instance, but they chose not to.

  • http://disinfo.com ralph

    Haystack, in this instance the fine according to oman28 would be roughly $150 which I think is reasonable. I agree with you on medical costs being completely ridiculous when in need of attention without insurance … no argument there. One wonders what light this situation in Tennessee will shed on health care … and obviously basic civil services many of us do unfortunately not think enough about where it comes from … and society in general.

  • Haystack

    And the firefighters who did nothing are not heroes, nor civil servants, and should not be given any more special recognition by the community where they do business than the FedEx man or the tow truck driver. If they cannot make a profit fighting fires, they should lose their jobs; no go’vt funding, no charity raffles or benefits.

    Most fire departments survive on the good will of the communities they serve. If these guys want to turn firefighting into a business and sacrifice their relationship with the public on the altar of profit motive, then I wish them luck.

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