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For those of you who have not heard this story already, a house in rural Tennessee was allowed to burn because the owners consciously chose to not pay $75 towards the fire protection district as part of their property taxes. There is a lot of talk about this incident, much of it irresponsible. I do not think the situation was handled as well as it could have been.

The fire department acted properly since there were no people trapped inside the house. Had their been lives at stake I would have expected them to help remove the people while doing the minimum of fire-fighting to keep the firefighters safe. These people opted out, and are not entitled to use a service that they snubbed at tax time.

Here is a nice dilemma, you are renting a house, and unbeknownst to you the penny-pinching owner has "opted out" of paying for fire protection. Let's hope this could never happen for an apartment building or a home-owners association.

That said, the fire department made several crucial mistakes. First, there should be a prepared statement on hand at the station and with each of the vehicles for such circumstances. What I have in mind is having it written out in full, sort of like the Miranda warning for police, so that firefighters do not have to improvise and accidentally say anything that could come back to hurt them. There should also be a sort of FAQ so that common questions have ready answers when citizens ask for clarification.

Finally, there should be a one-time price tag for them to come out. I am thinking in the range of 40-100 years worth of paying the tax because we want it to be prohibitive to discourage this sort of behavior. There should be a contract that the home owner should have to sign upon their arrival. It should be very clear, and should provide for the bill being paid within 90 days or so, and have clause that enables the fire protection district to put a lien on the property (house and grounds) without further court appearances if the amount is not paid by then.

Is this brutal? Yes, but this family took a brutish stand by not paying into the system. I read that one of the firefighters was assaulted for not acting to save the house. OK, I dare anyone to justify assaulting a carpenter for not helping you fix up your house for free. Try to justify it.

If something along the lines above were implemented, I have no trouble watching a house burn down when there are no people inside. Perhaps because there is uncertainty in this world, and people may be inside at any time, we should just expand fire protection districts and take the opt-out option off the table.   Wait, that would be socialist! Or would it just be fair?

Originally posted to Book Lover on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:31 PM PDT.


Do fire departments have to act on behalf of people who opted out of the system?

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| 99 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Hideous (10+ / 0-)

      did you even hear the interview? The guy said he forgot to pay, and when he called the fire department he told them he would pay whatever it took. They refused.

      Also, since when are we on Daily Kos so freaking Libertarian that we are okay with "cutting taxes" and then charging people a "fee" for the fire department? Also, do you really believe it is possible that the county perfectly separates county taxes from the fees, so they guy didn't already provide support for the department that watched his house burn, along with his cat and three dogs trapped in the house?

      Have a doughnut.

      Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

      by dhonig on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 04:06:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  everyone in this conversation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        (more or less) is on record saying everyone should be covered and county taxes should pay for it.

        the libertarians are in this county refusing to do that, voting it down, not here.

        Libertarians always forgot to opt in when it's after the fact.  They say they hate the commons, and they would never expect their homeowners insurance to operate this way, purchased after the home is lost... but somehow they expect the state to be their nanny when it affects them.

        Way to support libertarian.  Their philosophy: they owe you nothing.  Your philosophy: you owe them anyway.

        If you understand stystem theory, there is no more to consider about your version of the situation.

        •  Can you document that the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dhonig, koNko, Pandoras Box

          City or County (whatever, doesn't matter) received NO funds from State or Federal sources for firefighters?

          Fire departments are subsidized by general taxation at State and Federal levels, and locals chip in a co-pay at the municipality level.  Has nothing whatsoever to do with "insurance".  Firefighting is a public service, funded by taxpayers, and not just local taxpayers.

          don't always believe what you think...

          by claude on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 07:00:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And a fundamental service of government (0+ / 0-)

            Is this government of the People or government of the Privileged?

            It's really unimaginable to me that I would pass a house on fire and not call the Fire Department, and equally so that the person on the other end of the line world respond by asking me if I was the house owner and if not if I could verify if the owner had their fees up to date.

            Does the word EMERGENCY have any meaning any longer?

            Something is terribly wrong here.  

            Claude, you raise a very good point too.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:38:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  good question (0+ / 0-)

            however, if they did, it was not for servicing the county, but for the residents of their town.

            Hate the countya nd state that allow this.  The state could mandate the counties to levy the nec funds, the county could also simply do that itself.

      •  Local government (0+ / 0-)

        We on the Daily Kos are individuals.

        Apparently South Fulton has chosen this particular system for fire protection through local government. This is quite common for rural US. If a fire department is going to play hardball, then they should be prepared. That is my message.

        Or did you miss my last sentence where I suggested that we could (should) eliminate opt-out option?

        •  not quite (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tinfoil Hat, BachFan, Lord Sphere

          just to nit pick the facts... SOUTH FULTON has decided to have a Fire Department and TAX their residents to do so.  OBION county has chosen both not to have a fire department, and not to levy taxes to opt into any of the local townships departments.

          no offense, but I think it's important, lots of people don't seem to get the jurisdictional issue here...

          •  Conceded (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Yes, you are correct. But since it was the South Fulton which is put in the uncomfortable position of playing hardball, they should be prepared. This is probably not a new situation for them. There should be boilerplate forms for ALL similar FD situations. Or maybe OBION county folk  (and other rural areas) should simplify matters and just pay in.

            •  the only gov (0+ / 0-)

              that can bill them that way, as is done for wilderness rescue in a lot of places these days (at least if you break park rules), is the county, state, or federal government which have jurisdiction to various degrees.

              South Fulton cannot charge them, nor will the legal system recognize a contract signed while a house burns down in the background.  That's duress.

      •  Is it true that Mr. Cranick's son's house burned (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, esquimaux

        a year or two ago, when the son had failed to pay that $75 annual fee -- and that the then-fire chief had allowed the firefighters to put out the son's house fire on condition that the son paid the $75 the next day?  (Here's where I saw this claim ... no idea whether it's true or not.)

        If so, I understand why Gene Cranick thought he could get the same "deal" ... but I also understand why the out-of-jurisdiction fire department's policy now is not to give anyone else the same "deal".  It's a classic free-rider problem -- if you let everyone pay the voluntary $75 fee AFTER the fact, nobody will ever pay BEFORE the fact, and there won't be any funds for buying/maintaining the firefighting equipment (even if it's a purely voluntary force).

        "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

        by BachFan on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:31:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's what's especially egregious and where (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I lost completely all sympathy for this fuckwad - heck, he has personal experience with the importance of paying this fee and yet he still "forgot" - not likely, he's simply "a liar liar pants on fire" type of guy . . .

          •  Oh for fucks sake (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, Ezekial 23 20

            The guy lived in a double wide.  It's very likely he was fucking poor and couldn't afford to pay the $75 on time.

            This whole debate is fucking stupid.  People who advocate for a pay to spray system are fucking selfish bastards who should just go galt or go play in traffic and leave the rest of us to have a compassionate society where we take care of one another, even if it means putting out a fire at someone else's house.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:41:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Can't pay $75? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              esquimaux, BachFan

              That's a bargain for fire protection, I pay over $1,300 for example . . . (not that I have a choice to pay or not).

              Besides, since he has first hand experience that it maybe, just maybe, might be important to prioritize making this particular payment - well, a lot of people *do* learn from life experiences. Not him, tho!!

              •  Doesn't fucking matter (0+ / 0-)

                If we're to live in a society them we have to take care of one another regardless of how much of an asshole/stupid they may be.  It's easy to let these people suffer for believing the bullshit that's been fed to them for generations.  It's alot harder to do the right thing.  Too many are either believing the libertarian bullshit or taking the easy road and frankly I can't believe there are so many heartless fuckers on this site.

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:49:49 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  These people don't want to be taken care of (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  esquimaux, BachFan

                  they want to be heroic, rugged individualists.

                  Furthermore, they vote over and over and over to fuck over people like myself. Believe me, I know, I've lived amongst them for well over half my life . . .

                  Now when their idiacracy backfires and fucks themself over too, well excuse me if I'm not crying even crocodile tears for them.

        •  I don't see 'classic' anything. (0+ / 0-)

          The guy said he would pay 'anything' if they fought it this time, so they should have simply billed him for the run, however many thousands it would have been, and fought the fire.

          That would have been just as much an 'object lesson'.

          If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

          by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:16:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How does the FD collect the bill for its costs? (0+ / 0-)

            Even if the guy really meant what he said at the time, contract law says you're not allowed to enforce an agreement that's entered under duress.  An agreement between the fire department and a man whose house is burning down?  That seems to be a perfect example of duress.

            "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

            by BachFan on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:05:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You could not be more wrong. Or vicious. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ezekial 23 20

      You've apparently been fortunate in your life not to have lost all of your ordinary possessions, all of your mementos, all of everything you've worked your life to acquire--and then had to seek shelter and start all over.

      And you propose that a solution is to have a printed document to be read when the firemen arrive to (not) put out the fire?

      The county's plan should have had a provision that homeowners who have forgotten/refused to pay the $75 tax will be billed the hourly cost of services if they call on the fire department for help. Very simple: if I know that by paying $75 once a year I can avoid a penalty of thousands of dollars in the event I have a fire, I'll pay the yearly fee. The plan should NOT be left at "pay the fee" or you won't get fire protection.

      Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

      by Miniaussiefan on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:32:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tipped for raising debate. (0+ / 0-)

      My 2 cents:

      Protecting and caring for the basic welfare of citizens is a fundamental purpose and responsibility of government, regardless of their ability or willingness to pay.

      If government fails to to do that, it has failed to perform a fundamental role.

      Is the USA a government of the People or a government of the Privileged?

      Furthermore, protecting a home is protecting a community.

      Lastly, I think you misunderstand a simple fact about this case. The fire department DID NOT RESPOND, which is to say, it did not come to determine if LIVES were threatened, it only showed-up when the PROPERTY of someone who paid the fee was threatened, therefore, the framing of your poll does not reflect the issue at stake.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:31:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have a donut (5+ / 0-)

    Is this brutal? Yes, but this family took a brutish stand by not paying into the system.

    I have no trouble watching a house burn down when there are no people inside.

    "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." Aristotle

    by camlbacker on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:40:09 PM PDT

  •  I think the diary is flawed, but I don't think it (10+ / 0-)

    rises to the level of a tip-jar HR.  Uprated to counter.

    My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

    by cai on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:46:35 PM PDT

    •  That's your prerogative. I've been a part of this (5+ / 0-)

      community for five years and this is the first time I've ever been the first to HR a comment, much less a tip jar.

      I have no trouble watching a house burn down when there are no people inside.

      Doesn't rise to the level of tip-jar HR? What exactly does?

      "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." Aristotle

      by camlbacker on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:50:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Property damage. I don't weep for material goods (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rmonroe, kyril, maggiejean, Marcion, JL, jan4insight

        Of course, the diary sucks because it spends seven paragraphs yammering without addressing the fact that fee for service firefighting shouldn't exist in the first place.  That's what taxes are for.

        The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

        by happymisanthropy on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:54:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A Hide Rate is for a comment so heinous (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, Celtic Merlin

        that the user thinks it should not be seen by viewers of this site -- along with all comments responding to the HR'd comment. It is not to be used on a comment or opinion with which you simply disagree.

        It is a means of community censorship that should be sparingly used only for egregious profanity, ad-hominem attacks, racist or other incendiary remarks, or in the case of certain "banned" conspiracy theories.

        Your HR is out of line and abuses the process.

        "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

        by KJC MD on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:16:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and this diary is heinous. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude, DisNoir36, Ezekial 23 20

          This diary is nothing but a libertarian troll attack, and it needs to be squished.

          A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

          by Boreal Ecologist on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 04:42:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  funny (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            cause the homeowner seems like the libertarian here, no use for the commons, until it affects him personally.

            And you, think VOLUNTEER firefighters have to risk their life for that libertarian.

            You want the giving people squished to save the libertarians.  So, I happen to think your sanctimony is ridiculous.

            •  Everyone was. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Celtic Merlin

              Sure the homeowner was an ass, but so was everyone else involved, from firefighters to city manager.

              'He got what he deserved' is right wing crapola.  We're supposed to be better than them.  ou do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because the person you're doing it for is a good person.

              If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

              by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:23:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  And when I say risk their lives... (0+ / 0-)

            ... I mean, without any insurance or safety net, the lives of their families through loss of them.  They obviously are quite WILLING to risk their lives in general.

            And then, dealing with "libertarians" that really don't like liberty so much as not paying taxes, you will find, no, in fact, they don't pay.

            Indeed, SF doesn't collect half of the $500 fee for rolling out even from people that pay the $75.

            Your way of teaching people to appreciate and contribute to the commons is the one that works with libertarianism, they get to maintain their illusions, call you communist, hate your guts, take your help, and then go back to hating your guts and calling you communist.

      •  My take on HRing a tip jar (0+ / 0-)

        is that it means the diary is so destructive to the community as a whole that it should not be allowed to be seen.

        I would have trouble watching a house burn down when there are no people inside, especially if there were pets, but a) I am not a firefighter*, and b) I don't think saying that is as bad as some of the things I've given tip jar HRs to.  Those things are usually a vile stew of bigotry and trollery.

        If things are just wrong I either a) argue, b) rec the comments that argue, or c) go away because I don't feel like arguing.

        * The reason this is relevant: one firefighter on the monster thread a couple days ago said he did let houses, cars, etc., burn with no one inside, even when owners were begging him to save them, because fighting the fire would have been too dangerous, and the property wasn't worth the lives of his men.

        My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

        by cai on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:32:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not willing to uprate, but wonder (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myrealname, Hedwig, kyril, Linda in Ohio

      if diarist thought about older folks who do not pay much attention to bills outside the norm (not to mention some folks who didn't think they needed insurance against putting out house fires).  A simple tax would do nicely here, or are taxes such an anathema that people are not willing to cooperate and just pay the paltry amount it would take to be sure everyone is safe?

      We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit. Dalai Lama

      by maggiejean on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 11:55:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, KJC MD, cai

        but people are blaming FIREFIGHTERS, not the county government, not the RESIDENTS that have voted down taxes to pay time and again.

        It's sad to me the idea that means 2500 people in a genuine collective are expected to carry anti-tax zeolots that think they can pay insurance AFTER their claim if it's the government.

      •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

        Last sentence suggested that maybe opt-out should be eliminated. I believe that is the simpler solution. But if we are going to go through the trouble of having an opt-out, let's do it right.

      •  The firefighters came from a city that DOES have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        taxes that support the firefighters.  Mr. Cranick lives outside of that city, and doesn't pay those city taxes.

        He lives in a county that has decided NOT to tax its residents to pay for its own fire department.  So residents of that county -- remember, they're outside the city and don't pay city taxes -- have the option of paying $75/year for coverage from the city-taxpayer-funded fire department.

        "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

        by BachFan on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:37:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great fucking system (0+ / 0-)

          Lets implement it at hospitals too.  If you don't pay taxes and you're having a heart attack tough shit.  

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:46:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, KJC MD

      The diary has problems and there is no option in the poll that comes within a mile of my opinion, but to HR it is WAY over the line.

      The "hider" cites two sentences he doesn't like as making the diary HR-able.  Even those don't justify a doughnut in the TJ.

      Uprated to counter the wrong-headed HR - even though I'm not at all in sync with the diary.

      Celtic Merlin
      Former firefighter & son of a firefighter

      Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

      by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:03:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The options should have been (8+ / 0-)
    1.  to pay the insurance fee, or
    1. to pay the full cost of the fire department service, which could be several thousand dollars, in the event that the fire department service is needed.

    To have the fire department standing by but making no attempt to control the fire should not be one of the options. The house that burned may have been unoccupied, but other houses in the area probably were not. The burning house put other people and property in the area at risk unnecessarily. This is not acceptable.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction -- Pascal

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:07:43 AM PDT

    •  The problem is that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, Paver

      fire equipment and the maintenance of a company of trained people to operate it is expensive and the investment must be made prior to its being needed.

      It is as if your option (2) should be that the homeowner can, once the fire starts, order a fire engine from the factory, wait for it to be manufactured and delivered, find and train the crew to run it, then start fighting the fire (if there is anything left).

      The fee in option (1) is taking care of my version of option (2). If everyone chose to try your option (2), there would never be a ready-to-go firefighting service because the equipment and personnel to run the service would not exist.

      The fire department was there to control the fire -- for the benefit of the next-door neighbors who had paid for the service to exist. When the property of someone who had opted in and paid for the service was endangered, they fought the fire using the pre-bought equipment THAT person had helped pay for.

      "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

      by KJC MD on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:32:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you actually think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, KJC MD

      insurance can work if you pay the premium only AFTER claims??!?  really!?!?  you know, everything has to be sustainable, including fire departments, or they don't last.  Should South Fulton go without fire protection until they can afford to cover people that don't want to collect themselves into a very reasonably prices cooperative of fire protection?

    •  Apparently the fire department came out b/c (0+ / 0-)

      one of Mr. Cranick's neighbors DID pay the $75 annual fee and had called the firefighters, in part to help out Mr. Cranick but also to protect the neighbor's own property.

      "Specialization is for insects." -- Heinlein

      by BachFan on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:41:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This diary is absurd, imo. (6+ / 0-)

    Emergency and other essential services should be allocated this way. The Obion county FD in fact had presented plans that would have covered everyone living outside the municipalities, thus avoiding this scenario entirely. But the town council shot it down.

    This information and more was thoroughly discussed on Countdown tonight:

    •  That's democracy. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, BachFan

      If the county wants a system like that, they can have it.

      •  Then that is a good argument against Democracy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lord Sphere, jan4insight

        Any form of government that fails to provide basic Emergency Services on an as needed basis is lousy government regardless of what it is named.

        After reading about this case, I'm not sorry I live in country with a one party system that sends out the Fire Brigade when buildings catch on fire.

        Democratic in action, if not in form.

        If you are ever in China and see a building burning, dial 112, we think it's your obligation as a citizen to report fires and the the Fire Department's to respond.  BTW, the emergency services operators are multilingual so you don't have to learn Chinese in an emergency.,

        Where is the common sense in this case?

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:52:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Snark Tag Needed (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

    by dr fatman on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 12:22:12 AM PDT

  •  How about we just take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda in Ohio

    the trillions that the banking industry recently looted from America, and have them pay for everyone's fire protection tax?

  •  This is the most ridiculous thing (5+ / 0-)

    I have heard in a long time.  How is it possible that if you don't pay  seventy five dollars to the town, city or municipality, whatever, that the fire department lets your house burn down.  What next? if you don't pay an insurance fee to the town, the cops won't come when you are getting robbed raped or murdered?  How about garbage collection?  Oh, they already make you pay for that  with a contract to the  highest bidder.  What are your taxes for?  Just to pay the town council to screw you?

    There was a cat in the house.  What a bunch of assholes.

    And what if you can barely make the expenses that you already have to pay, are living on a fixed income, have no money to pay these fees without giving up  monthly bills for medication,, food, heat, essentials?

    I guess it doesn't matter about any of that if your house and everything you owned burned down while the Fire department watched.  I am watching this man's insurance company to see if they penalize him by not covering the fire because it was his own fault that the house burned down.  What a country.

    "Let them eat cake" M.A.

    by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:13:53 AM PDT

    •  let me explain (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, BachFan, KJC MD

      the CITY of South Fulton, of 2500 people cannot tax people outside city limits.

      Inside city limits there is universal fire protection and taxes to pay for it. Outside the city limits South Fulton is kind enough to offer people to opt in for $75.  If the fire truck rolls to your house you pay $500, which evidently south fulton only collects successfully half the time because, you know, they are not in city limits and SF has no actual authority.

      that's how.  If you call for a fire truck from New York and you are not in their jurisdiction, should they have to come?  if so, how far?

      •  Let me say this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rmonroe, coquiero

        Although the WTC is not the same, the principles are the same, When NYC's Fire Department was not enough, every fire department came to assist in that rescue. They came from all over the country to help.  Is that far enough?  

        "Let them eat cake" M.A.

        by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 02:27:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  um (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          yeah, because that's reciprocal... are you saying that the home owner should also send fire trucks into south fulton when they need extra help?

        •  They wouldn't however, for a run of the mill (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, Celtic Merlin

          fire, which is what this was.  And they certainly didn't have to send anyone: we didn't see tons of outrage over the fire departments didn't go to NYC.  

        •  You're comparing 9-11 to an average fire call? (0+ / 0-)

          You can't be serious.

          I was third on my department's list to join the run to NYC (600 miles) after 9-11.  We'd have gone because of the disaster that befell our brothers (343 dead firefighters) and the number of fire apparatus (5 dozen, I believe) destroyed that day.

          We NEVER volunteer to go to NYC for an average call on an average day.  As a former firefighter, I find your attempt to compare this situation to the national outpouring of 9-11 to be repulsive.

          They came from all over the country to help.  Is that far enough?

          You equating this situation to that day shows your desperation to make your point and is offensive.

          Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

          by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:35:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

            I was in the city the day of 911 for a meeting and don't tell me that my comparison to make a point is repulsive.  I am a New Yorker, born and raised there, my daughter in law was two blocks from ground zero and fled with the crowds.  The only thing I am not is a Fireman, and i find it repulsive that no one seemed to think it was appropriate to put out that fire. I responded to the point of how far out of town is the fire department obligated to go. Are you a New Yorker?

            "Let them eat cake" M.A.

            by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:34:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, EXCUSE YOU! (0+ / 0-)

              Your comparison IS repulsive.

              For a simple structure fire, FDNY is more than equipped to take care of itself.  For a national tragedy, everybody responds.  THERE IS AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE.

              NO fire stations from outside the five boroughs were requested by FDNY to respond to the WTC before the collapse - at least not that I've ever heard.  Have you?

              AFTER the collapse, hundreds if not thousands of fire companies offered assistance to the FDNY for NYC was short 343 men and 60 pieces of apparatus and was searching for survivors.  They needed the extra help then and we all offered to help.

              The fact of the matter is that I AM a firefighter as was my father before me.  Those men wanted to douse that blaze, but were ordered not to by the City Manager.  My position is that they should have ignored their orders and responded to the first 9-1-1 call.  That they didn't disgusts me.

              How far out of town are firefighters obligated to go?  The answer is that they are NOT obligated to go ANYWHERE outside of their response area.  If they have a reciprocal agreement with another area, called a "mutual aid agreement", then they go only when and if they are needed in that other fire station's area.  If they have an arrangement with another municipality and/or the surrounding county, they respond only when and if needed to that area.  If there is an enormous conflagration way out of their area to which they are requested to respond for the sake of public safety, then and only then do they go that far away.

              For when firefighters are called far from their stations, they leave their own families and their neighbors without fire protection.  The 9-1-1 system coordinates coverage as best they can.

              This guy expected to be able to suck up on the services being paid for by a municipality to which he did not belong and to which he paid no taxes.  He had no right to expect to do so.  I still feel that the FD should have responded and let the financial bullshit work itself out later.

              But to compare the outpouring of support for the FDNY after 9-11 to this situation is repugnant.  Tell me, does the FDNY respond to Albany when there is a house fire there?  If not, why not?  How far out of NYC does FDNY go for a simple house fire in an area where they have no taxpayer support?

              I'll answer that for you.  Absent a mutual aid agreement, they don't.

              Celtic Merlin

              Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

              by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:12:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your self absorbed self righteous (0+ / 0-)

                pontification still does not excuse what happened in Tennessee.  As much of a non deserving tea bagger that he is, still sets a precedent for others to act the same way to perhaps people that you might think are deserving of better treatment.  

                "Let them eat cake" M.A.

                by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:24:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You should try to read before you reply. (0+ / 0-)

                  Because reading is FUNdamental!

                  From my "self absorbed self righteous pontification" which attempted (in your mind anyway) to "excuse what happened in Tennessee" :

                  My position is that they should have ignored their orders and responded to the first 9-1-1 call.  That they didn't disgusts me.

                  Pontificate that.

                  After you've waked into a few burning buildings with little more than two friends and a hose full of water, you can "pontificate" to me about what and where firefighters should and should not be risking our very lives upon.

                  Celtic Merlin

                  Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

                  by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:40:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Horse shit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        fire departments everywhere receive funding from State and Federal sources, in other words, ALL taxpayers pay to help firefighters. The only reason a two-bit burg HAS a fire department is because States (and Feds) help them out.  A two-bit County can't afford to fund a proper modern fire department on its own.

        The 75 bucks is a co-pay pitance.

        Or maybe it is different in your State. Can you justify this atrocity by proving that the local municipality received NO Federal or State funding for fire fighters?

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 06:48:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Can you provide ANY proof that the FD in question (0+ / 0-)

          received any financial assistance whatsoever from any taxing authority other than the residents of the City of South Fulton?

          You are the one making the claim that they got funding from an outside source.  You are the one who has to provide links to the supporting facts - if there are any.

          While I feel that the FD should have responded to the first 9-1-1 call, extinguished the blaze, and then billed him thousands for showing up - I also feel that this CITY fire department has every right to charge whatever they feel is appropriate for responding to a fire OUTSIDE of their municipality.

          If the county covered their own people and could provide fire protection to city residents in a reciprocal agreement called "mutual aid" - then the city would have responded for free had they been needed by the county FD.  But the county has done NOTHING about fire protection for its residents for more than 20 years.

          Under your scenario, folks from anywhere in your state should expect - no they should be able to DEMAND that the FD closest to your home come to theirs in order to fight a fire there.  It doesn't work that way.

          Federal (if any) and state (minor, if any) financial assistance doesn't begin to cover the cost of equipping, insuring, and operating a fire department.  You act as though these guys should be answering calls anywhere in TN because they maybe (you provide no evidence to support your claim) receive some state funding, though I'm sure that this state funding goes into the city's general fund and is not specifically given to the FD.

          Contact your local FD.  Ask them what it costs to operate for a year and how much federal and state financial assistance they receive on a regular basis to defray those costs.  If it's a volunteer department, also ask them how you can join them.  They probably need the help.

          Celtic Merlin

          Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

          by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:26:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      becaus the people in the rural town of South Fulton can certainly afford to carry a bunch of tax and fee hating people... it's their responsiblity.  They are not allowed to make a collective to protect those that join together.  God.

      •  There is no excuse (4+ / 0-)

        for letting someone's house burn down for a  seventy five dollar unpaid fee.   That man would have paid then and there and still they refused to help him.   Why are you defending this?

        It's not about a bunch of tax and fee hating people. It's about doing the right thing.

        "Let them eat cake" M.A.

        by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 02:35:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  because you don't realize (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          burrow owl, BachFan

          how insurance works, and that it costs more than $75 or for that matter, more than $575 to address a fire.

          You cannot pay a premium AFTER the effect, at most you could charge the actual cost.  But you can't have them agree to that while their house is on fire because such an agreement is under duress.

          How do you think collective organizations work, if a tiny group of 2500 not particularly wealthy people form a collective for their mutual safety, has to protect an arbitrarily large group of people.

          How do you think people will learn the lesson of joining collectives when people with full barns full of horses don't think protecting those horses for $75 dollars is worthwhile, when the horses themselves are worth thousands and thousand of dollars and not to mention, living animals.

          Your call to rescue the I-hate-fees-and-taxes crowd means only that South Fulton should not offer the coverage and/or not have fire protection themselves?  You think this guy expects an insurance company will cover him for the cost of the premium AFTER a claim?  Hell no, that's a private company and he respects the way that operates.  But he expects the government, he won't support, to do so from "compassion".

          That's not compassion being given, that's the victim enabling the abuse.

          •  Don't Assume (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            claude, Ezekial 23 20

            That I know nothing about insurance or how collective organizations work.

            I find your responses punitive and worse, adding to the existing problems that this country faces.

            How do you think people will learn the lesson of joining collectives when people with full barns full of horses don't think protecting those horses for $75 dollars is worthwhile, when the horses themselves are worth thousands and thousand of dollars and not to mention, living animals.

            Learn lessons?  I suspect that the homeowner has learned his lesson.  And one other thing?  Why did the FD come in the first place?  to watch his house burn down?  Why come at all, after all his name was not on the list.  Shame on them.

            "Let them eat cake" M.A.

            by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:15:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes is it punative (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              when people of their own volition turn their back on cooperative security, they are the ones that did that.

              The Y2K problem was severe too, so society had to put resources in... by this logic programmers should have worked on it even if banks etc had refused to pay.

              There is a line where compassion becomes enabling your abuser.

            •  oh? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              burrow owl, BachFan

              as I say, he once was allowed to pay the fee the following day when a relatives house burned.

              he did not learn his lesson.

              Personally, I consider it dangerous if the lesson was "you can pay the premium after" meaning no forethought or cooperation was required.  Insurance is paid by the people that end up not needing it.  It does not work if you pay after.  If you understand that then what are we arguing?

              •  From my interpretation of this (0+ / 0-)

                It was not this man that paid the fee after the fact, it was someone else that he knew that did this.  If that is true, why wouldn't he think that the same would apply to him?  Do it for someone else and not for him?  I am not arguing as to whether he should have opted in or not.  I am saying that it's no way to teach someone a lesson.  

                I was not personally impressed by this guy and I'm not sure whether he's been opting out of this for political reasons, whatever,  and I understand your point, I just feel that under the circumstances, the FD should have refused to come to  his home and watch the fire burn it down.  

                "Let them eat cake" M.A.

                by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:36:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  They did not come to the home to watch it burn (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  They came to his next-door neighbor's property (a neighbor who had paid the fee and thus opted in to the system) to protect that property.

                  In the poorly-designed system in place in the county area outside the town, if you pay the fee to the town you have fire protection, of you do not pay the fee, you do not. Your choice.

                  "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"--Eleanor Roosevelt

                  by KJC MD on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:56:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  because when (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  someone gives you are break and breaks the rules for you, it's rude and ignorant to just assume that's your right.

                  I may be wrong but I thought he said on olberman it was a relative (son or grandson) and that HE HIMSELF went in to pay it afterwards.

                  When someone breaks the rules for you, it's uncool to assume that's the new rule.

            •  btw, they came 2 hrs later (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              burrow owl

              when his neighbor's field was burning.

              It's a fucked up system, no doubt, that they chose, over and over, conciously, both the county that leaves it this way and the individual that chose not to take part.

          •  I know how government works (0+ / 0-)

            And this one isn't working, even marginally.

            Let me qualify my remark. I live outside the US. Outside the US, you Dail 112 to report a fire and get a response.

            We call the situation an EMERGENCY, and EMERGENCY SERVICES are provided because it's a basic function of government in civilized countries, even poor ones.

            But maybe this is another case of American Exceptionalism.

            Really sad. Complete nonsense.

            Maybe nex time I visit I should pack a fire extinguisher, a gun and a medical bag because I'm not a citizen or a resident and so didn't pay tax and can't depend on there being any basic Fire, Police or Medical Services in an Emergency situation.

            I have been warned.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:03:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  As awful as it is to let a house burn (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          burrow owl, BachFan

          how do you sustain a system where payment is not required, but service on demand is.  That's not how it works.

          The point is not whether or not the fire department should have put the fire out.  The point is that essential services like fire protection should not be services that you can opt-out of.  Either putting fires out is essential, or it isn't.  It can't be optional when your paying for the service, but suddenly mandatory when you need the service.

          This is a teachable moment, if it is framed correctly.

          explain how letting gays marry will directly affect your own heterosexual relationship?

          by bluestatesam on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:23:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here is the teachable point (0+ / 0-)

            In civilized socities, emergency services are covered as a basic governement service funtion from general taxes, usually local land use of property taxes.

            Socities that fail to do this are not civil.

            That is the lesson.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:06:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It seems that many people don't understand this. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, koNko, Ezekial 23 20

      And this is a very important point in the events that have unfolded:

      The municipality which underwrites the cost of having any fire protection in that area whatsoever is the City of South Fulton, TN.  Mr. Cranick lives in Obion County, but NOT in the City of South Fulton.

      The South Fulton Fire Dept. will respond - without the need for an "opt-in" fee - to any fire within the city limits of South Fulton because those residents pay much higher taxes which support police, fire, roads, street lights, etc. in the City of South Fulton.

      Mr. Cranick lives outside the city limits and pays lower taxes because Obion County does not provide these same municipal services.  The residents of the City complained that they were providing emergency services to people outside the city who weren't helping to pay for those services.

      So, the city government asked the county to contribute and they refused because nobody wanted to raise taxes in order to help pay for the fire department.  The city - left with no other choice - told those folks living outside the city that instead of abandoning them completely, they could retain firefighting services if homeowner involved paid a voluntary "opt-in" fee.  This at least gave folks a chance to retain firefighting services.  Some folks opted in, others did not.  This "opt-in" system has been in place for 20 years!

      Mr. Cranick never opted in.  NEVER!  Three years ago, when he needed fire protection, he called and the fire department responded, put out the fire, and told Mr. Cranick that they would permit him to pay the $75 fee retroactively.  Which he did, but he never paid it again.

      Each year, the fire department sends out letters and then follows up with a phone call to those who do not opt-in - just to make sure that they're making the conscious decision to not participate in the program.

      As a former firefighter and the son of a firefighter, I feel that this program stinks something awful.  It puts firefighters in the shit position, not the politicians who invented this stupid idea.

      The reason the fire department was on the scene at all was because Cranick's neighbor (a subscriber) called because his yard was burning as a result of Cranick's fire.  By the time they arrived, the Cranick home was fully-involved and no firefighting activities on this earth would have saved it.

      Had I been on duty that day, I'd have responded to Cranick's house fire - which was only a grass/brush fire when the first 9-1-1 call came in.  I'd have had a police officer with me to witness my conversation with Mr. Cranick that we'd put out his fire, but that it was going to cost him $5,000.  Yes, five thousand bucks!  He could have turned it in to his homeowner's insurance and they'd have reimbursed at least some if not all of it.

      Either way, that fire would have been extinguished.  And I'd have told the City Fathers to come up with a better system because the current system sucks out loud.

      Celtic Merlin

      Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

      by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 07:53:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dunno, I think a lot of people understand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Celtic Merlin

        although you summed it up about as concisely as I've yet seen it on here.

        I think we fall into two categories - people who believe you do what you can, if you can, no matter how much of an idiot or asshole someone is, and people who believe you shouldn't help assholes because it encourages them to continue to be assholes.

        If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:30:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe you're corrent in your assessment, Zeke (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ezekial 23 20

          I'd have responded - f*ck the money, let the politicians, the lawyers, the insurance companies, and the courts work that out later.  I'd have made it clear to the guy as soon as I got off the engine that he was going to receive a very very large bill, however.

          This way, nobody loses.  The FD gets what they deserve (eventually) and the anti-taxation teabaggin' cheapass homeowner gets what he deserves.

          The people who fund this FD with their tax dollars have a stake in this, also.  While their men are at Cranick's home, THEY are left with no timely fire protection - which they pay for and he doesn't.

          The answer to all of this is that Obion County should have provided fire protection and not put this pressure on the municipalities which already paid to have it.  Lacking that, they should have helped fund the FD's in their county so that there would have been no question about responding.

          The bad guy in all of this really IS Obion County for causing this situation to exist in the first place.  These firefighters should not have been put in the middle of this, though I deplore their decision to go along with not responding.  By not responding to people in need, they make me feel that they don't deserve to wear the boots - let alone claim the title - of "firefighter".

          Celtic Merlin

          Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

          by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:51:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I totally agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Celtic Merlin

        The name of the situation is EMERGENCY.

        A basic function of government is Emergency Services, and failing to provide for that is a failure of government.

        Failed the citizens, including the Fire Fighters.

        Having lived 2 doors from a Fire Station for several years, I got to know several Fire Fighters and they were all really good and capable and brave people who were motivated as humans to do their job, not by the prestige or pay.

        Citzens deserve basic services, and the people that risk their lives to provide them deserve not only decent pay, but the opportunity to do their job, that they want to do, because that's why they chose that job. No one gets rich running into burning buildings to save people or property.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:19:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, nobody gets rich fighting fires. (0+ / 0-)

          My father never did.  Neither did I.

          The crux of the problem here is who has to pay for those Emergency Services?  Everybody?  Anybody?  Nobody?

          While I sympathize with the taxpayers who WERE paying to have those firefighters available (though the men be volunteers, the costs are still tremendous), I don't for an instant believe that you ignore a cry for help.

          Those firefighters should have ignored the City Manager and responded and let the financial bullshit work itself out through the courts, if necessary.  They didn't, and I'm appalled that they didn't respond.

          I've typed this earlier:  The real villain here is Obion County, who should have never created this situation.  Second prize goes to the City Manager, who told those men to not respond.  Third prize goes to the homeowner in question for being a cheapass teabagger and choosing to NOT join the program over, and over, and over again.

          Ultimately, I still place some blame with the firefighters for agreeing to not respond.  While they were the ones who got stuck into the middle of a shitty situation by the politicians, they should have rolled on the first 9-1-1 call.

          Celtic Merlin

          Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

          by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:42:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  you can't have someone sign a contract (0+ / 0-)

    when their house is on fire... it's duress.

  •  My question is this...... (0+ / 0-)

    Has this family not been paying their $75 all along or is it just this one time. Perhaps an over looked bill. I still think it's inherently wrong for a fire department, that has responded to a call, just sit by and do nothing. Why show up at all?  What's happened to being good "neighbors" and helping those in need, instead of what am I going to get out of this? Does everything in this country now have a price tag?

    •  on olberman (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, BachFan

      the guy said a relative had not paid at one time, the SFFD saved his house and let him pay the fee the day after.

      The guy expected to be able to do that again... it's "cheaper" for him, but not for SF.

    •  yes, because "socialism" and taxes are evil (7+ / 0-)

      Everyone pays taxes to someone on their property, and the county could simply include the fee as part of their property tax.  But considering where the man lived, I bet he and his neighbors are flag-wavin' Republicans who believe taxes are evil, evil I say.  Even to support public services like police and fire departments.  You want security?  Hire a private guard.  You want a fire truck?  Pay a fee.

      All you folks who are saying, well the city shouldn't provide emergency help to a neighbor in need because he didn't pay a fee are just buying into the Republican "everyone for themselves" religion.  What additional cost did the fire department have?  The price of gas for getting there.  We already pay for the men to sit around, and they do a whole lot of sitting around.  In fact, the fire departments have to set practice fires in abandoned buildings for training so you can't even say this was an inconvenience.

      But all that's besides the point.  Your neighbor is screaming for help.  The compassonate, the human, the right thing to do is help and then sort out the details later.  You don't stand around and debate if the man deserves his neighbor's help.  If your reaction is anything but that, you need to look at the state of your own soul.  

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Let them eat cake" M.A.

        by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 02:53:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm reminded of FDR on lend-lease (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ezekial 23 20

        "What I am trying to do is eliminate the dollar sign.  All right!  Well let me give you an illustration: Suppose my neighbor's home catches fire ...if he can take my garden hose and connect it up with his hydrant I may help him to put out his fire.  Now, what do I do? I don't say to him before that operation, "Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have got to pay me $15 for it.  I don't want $15 - I want my garden hose back.  In other words, if you lend certain munitions and the munitions come back at the end of the war, you are all right."

        Religion: Treat it like your penis. Don't show it off in public, and don't shove it down your children's throats.

        by MinistryOfLove on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:04:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  the firefighters are not insured (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if they fight a fire not in their jurisdiction.  Sorry, the system is such that you have to want to be part of a collective ahead of time to be part of the collective.  So difficult. So expensive.

        The alternative... the county charges the fee as a tax on property.  They have refused to do this and the people have voted against it.  You'd not only force the to join (which I'd support) but allow them not to and force 2500 people to foot the bill for a much larger group.

        •  Just curious (0+ / 0-)

          About that insurance for the firefighters, Is it paid out on a house by house basis, meaning, the insurance company asks for the addresses of the outside of the jurisdiction properties and on their policy for insurance they include only those addresses of the fee payers would be covered if a firefighter was injured?

          Meaning that if I firefighter outside the jurisdiction was injured on a property not on the insurance company's list, he would  be out of luck?   Or... is the outside jurisdiction blanket covered for the area and therefore, the firefighters are insured just for being there regardless of whether the homeowner payed the 75 dollar fee.

          "Let them eat cake" M.A.

          by stiffneck on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 04:31:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  according to the press reports (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the insurance covers fires fought in people in the jurisdiction which, by default, is ONLY the city of South Fulton ("city" of 2500 rural inhabitants).  This jurisdiction is extended to those that also opt in in areas within the departments range.  So the claims in the press are that if they fought a fire on a house not on the list, they would not be covered.

            It's interesting to think that the FD could come and charge him the costs... but it's more complicated, think in a general case... what if two fire departments that you have not agreed to be protected by show up?  But the main problem is the FD cannot possibly collect without an agreement, outside their jurisdiction.  If they somehow had that right, that'd be great. I'd be for that incrementally toward the more obvious case of covering everyone at a sliding flat rate via taxation.

            But as it is, the guy offered to pay anything, but that is not a promise that would hold up in court, and would be prone to that... why?  Because the house was burning to the ground, and the guy could certainly feel that he didn't get his money's worth when the house was still burnt to the ground with a four digit bill on top.

        •  Are you listening to yourself? (0+ / 0-)

          Again, you describe a system where it's everyone for themselves, where the insurance industry is allowed to tell you what you can and can't do even if it comes to saving a life.  The shame is that we as a society have allowed the profit interests of a select few to control the rules of society.

          So tell me, why is the insurance company even allowed to tell our fire departments what addresses they're allowed to respond to?  Because they can.  If they could, they'd limit the fire department to one response call per day to minimize potential payments.

          According to you, even if a person were trapped in the burning house, the firefighters were then supposed to stand there and watch someone burn to death, because "the insurance industry won't let me help".  And that doesn't make you want to either scream or cry?

          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

            I describe that system because that's what the good people of Obion County wanted.  I did not invent that system.

            I'd be tickled pink if both property owners with fire damage sued the state or county and forced the county into the 19'th century.

            I just am disgusted by people that don't know who to blame... how about smokey the bear, he obviously did not communicate the rule --- do not leave trash fires unattended.

      •  I agree with your position on the issue, but NOT (0+ / 0-)

        with your assessment of what firefighting is all about.  I'll try to be more diplomatic than I was initially inclined to be because you obviously know nothing about the Fire Service.

        What additional cost did the fire department have?  The price of gas for getting there.

        It isn't that simple.  There is ALOT of annual overhead that you don't consider in your assessment.  Besides "the price of gas for getting there", there is:

        1. Apparatus acquisition - the "sticker price" of the engines and trucks.  The price of one (ONE!) pumper will range from $150,000 to $350,000 and up depending upon capability and optional safety features.  Even at the lowest price, this does not include: hoses, nozzles, couplings, hand tools, rescue tools, Light Boxes (long-life safety flashlights), Halligan tools, and incidentals like cribbing, door wedges, and extinguishers.  Because people want us to have trucks, engines, tankers, squad vehicles, and a way to respond to the scene quickly.
        1. Insurance - because it costs alot to buy fire insurance for the fire station.  After all, if it's burning - who's gonna put it out and how?  And the station contains hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of apparatus and gear.  Plus there is vehicle insurance and liability insurance.  Plus there is insurance on the health and lives of the men who ride the apparatus to the fire scene.  Because shit happens.
        1. Gear - we wear alot of highly-specialized and very expensive clothing to put out fires.  Boots, fire pants, fire coat, Nomex hoods, Kevlar helmets, and gloves are the basics.  For the entry teams, you have the additional cost of SCBA's (air masks, air tanks and the webgear which holds them onto you).  Because firefighters don't want to die in a fire.
        1. Utilities - electricity, water used at the station, natural gas for heating the station, phone lines, etc.  Because these things are needed, too.
        1. Maintenance - of the apparatus (tires, oil, brakes, etc.), of the station itself (roof, snow clearing, paint, etc.), and of all of the other "stuff" that is used to fight fires.  Because we and the people who call us expect things to operate well and properly when we're needed.
        1. Communications - an essential and life-saving necessity.  This includes radios on the trucks, radios for officers, and the units used to call volunteer firefighters to station when they are needed.  The one I used to use was made by Motorola and was called a "Minitor".  Google that.  They're awesome little devices.

        Cost?  You don't know one percent of it.  The price of the fuel needed to respond doesn't amount to anything significant when these other costs are considered.

        We already pay for the men to sit around, and they do a whole lot of sitting around.

        On this point, diplomacy fails to adequately convey my feelings.
        EFF YOU!  EFF you, you ignorant ass!  DO IT FOR A WEEK.  Try it!  Summon up the courage to try it for just a week.  Riding those big red vehicles is NOT alot of fun and games.  Firefighting is dirty, dangerous, stressful, and backbreaking work.  Most people couldn't handle HALF of what I've seen just at accident scenes.  We have nightmares.  Once the adrenaline wears off, the emotions that run through you can tear your heart out.

        Firefighting has finally dropped out of the Top Ten in the Most Dangerous Jobs in America list (where it used to compete with mining for the top spot on a regular basis) and is now down to 13th place on that list.  Firefighting is, however, STILL the #1 Most Stressful Job in America.  Most career firefighters don't make it to their 75th birthday.  Retired firefighters most commonly die of heart attacks and cancer, and the life expectancy of a firefighter who makes it to retirement is way short of the national average.

        The South Fulton FD is, I believe, an all-volunteer force.  Which means that the men who respond in South Fulton, TN have to leave their homes, jobs, and families in an awful damned big hurry at any time of the day or night in order to get to the station to respond to the call for help.  We do a whole lot of sitting around, huh?

        Kiss!  My!  Ass!  

        In fact, the fire departments have to set practice fires in abandoned buildings for training so you can't even say this was an inconvenience.

        Okay, back to diplomacy.  A practice burn is a controlled training exercise.  It is used to train new men, keep the skills of the veterans sharp, teach new methods, test new equipment and materials used to extinguish fires, and do so without the dangers of the uncontrolled fires to which we usually respond.  A practice burn is a safe way for men to gain the experience needed to be effective (or more effective) at an emergency fire scene.  Most people prefer that firefighters be good at what they do BEFORE they arrive at their burning homes.  Men gain training and experience at different types of fire situations, learn how to rescue victims using practice dummies or other firefighters as practice victims, and are able to make mistakes at a practice burn without those errors costing the lives of themselves, their fellow firefighters, and/or the victims of the fire.

        These training exercises are not conducted because the firefighters involved are bored, need something better to do than just "sit around", or have become so bad at fighting fires (from all of that sitting around we do) that they need to burn stuff down just so they don't forget how to do it.

        A house fire is a very different thing from a warehouse fire which is much different from an apartment building fire which is completely different from a barn fire or a chimney fire or a dumpster fire or a high-rise fire or a hospital fire or an industrial fire or a train fire or a vehicle fire or an aircraft fire or a brush fire or a forest fire or a garage fire or a tanker-truck fire or a crop fire or a mobile home fire.  Shall I go on?  Each has a different method of attack and the material used to extinguish those fires are can be unique.  Water isn't always the best thing to use and is sometimes wrong and dangerous.

        Practice burns are used as learning, teaching, and training exercises - NOT as ways of keeping the men from becoming bored from all of that "sitting around" we do.

        Now, on the issue at hand - response to the emergency - we agree completely.  Had I been in charge of that fire crew, we'd have ignored the orders of the City Manager and responded.  There should NEVER be a question in a firefighter's mind about "do we go or don't we go?"  Your statement:

        The compassonate, the human, the right thing to do is help and then sort out the details later.

        . . . is what I've been saying since the minute I first heard of this.  Damn the Mayor, damn the City Manager, damn the Fire Chief if he's on board with these politicians - I'm rolling.  Those men who went along with not responding disgust me.

        I'm sorry if my reaction to your "sitting around" remark offended you, but I stand solidly on that point.  That attitude is probably the most offensive thing you can say to or about any firefighter.  I sincerely hope that the balance of my reply was, at least, an educational experience and an interesting if somewhat long-winded look inside the world of firefighting.

        My father became a firefighter in the USAF, was a career firefighter with the City of Pittsburgh for 20 years, and joined a volunteer department after he retired from the city force, serving with them for an additional 25 years.  Total, he spent 50 years of his life as a firefighter.  I was a volunteer with a couple of departments where I live now.  I'm proud of what he and I have done for our communities, as is every firefighter proud of what we and our brother firefighters do.  We fight fires, save lives and property, educate our neighbors, and mitigate disaster.

        May you never need us.

        Celtic Merlin

        Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

        by Celtic Merlin on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:29:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  didn't make myself clear (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Celtic Merlin

          Relax, I'm not in any way putting down this or any fire department.  You're reading way too much into what I was trying to squeeze into a few paragraphs.

          I was talking about the cost of responding to this particular fire, not the cost associated with running a fire department overall, which is considerable.  At the end of the day, how much more would have been spent from the budget for the men to respond?  You cannot put the entire cost of having a fire engine available on this one poor man and his mobile home fire.  And, people are acting like it would have cost the fire department thousands of dollars to respond.  

          What I am pointing out is that the men are going to be paid, even if they don't respond to this fire.  No additional cost.  And the equipment is there already, so no additional cost.  And yes, the insurance is already paid, so no additional cost. So what ADDITIONAL cost was there?  Gas money.

          And where did I complain about the fire fighters sitting and waiting around for a fire?  That's the nature of the job.  Only a moron would complain about our highly trained fire fighters not having a fire to respond to on a particular day.  We pay them to be ready at a moment's notice.  I was pointing out that this one fire didn't even take the equipment away from some other more "deserving" taxpayer, which is actually an argument I heard on other boards (that someone who paid their fee might have needed the service during this time so morally they should have stayed in the firehouse just in case)

          So chill.  My buddy the volunteer fireman I work with would beat my brains out my ears if I dissed their work.      

          •  The point about the costs is this. (0+ / 0-)

            When you spread those costs out over the number of calls you make, $75 doesn't come within a lightyear of covering what it costs to have all of that "stuff" available and ready to go when the need arises.

            Yes, all of that "stuff" is already paid for, but out of who's pocket did the money to buy it come?  Not that cheapass teabaggin' homeowner's pocket!  Yes, the EXTRA cost of getting there is only the fuel (usually diesel), but it costs that municipality tens of thousands of dollars a year to have that fire department in place even if they make NO calls that year.  Somebody has to foot that bill, and the victim decided that under no circumstances was it going to be him.

            Then the fire started.  And suddenly . . . he had an epiphany.  An enormous change of heart.  In an instant, paying for having that FD available to respond to the emergency at his house wasn't such a bad idea.  But the COST of answering his call for help was certainly a whole bunch more than the price of the fuel expended.  It was also a whole bunch more than the $75 he refused to pay year, after year, after year.  The actual cost of having a fully-equipped and well-trained fire department available and ready to respond to his emergency would likely be - for a small municipality like that one - somewhere between $500 and $2000 depending upon how many runs they make a year.  All of those extra costs above and beyond the fuel ARE going to be paid, but he chose not to help pay for any of those "up-front stuff" costs.  And if you don't pay for all of that extra "stuff" before the fire starts, all the fuel in the county won't be worth a handfull of beans.

            Because when you ride the bus to work, the fare covers ALOT more than just the little bit of fuel it takes to roll yer butt to the stop you want.  It has to cover the driver's wages as well.  And the cost of buying that bus.  And the cost of maintaining that bus.  And the cost of insuring that bus.  The fare you pay covers a little piece of all of that.  You don't have to buy the whole bus, but you have to pay for having it available to you.  The same concept applies to buying a plane ticket, renting a car, and/or taking a cab somewhere.  You HAVE to pay for more than just the fuel, or the system doesn't work.

            Just like when the FD rolled to his house, what it costs to respond is alot more than just the fuel.  It COSTS alot of money to have all of that stuff sitting at the station house waiting to be used.  When you divide all of those expenses over the number of calls you make in a year, you get the cost of making it to a single call.  Because all of that has to be figured into the equation - not just the fuel.  I'm not asking him to buy the whole bus - er, the whole fire engine.  I'm asking him to expect to pay for what it costs to make one call.

            I understand your meaning, though.  Something along the lines of, "Hell, it's already been paid for!  How much extra would it cost them to have made the drive to this guy's burning house???"  And when viewed through that narrow scope, you're right.  It costs ONLY the fuel.  What I'm asking you to do is realize that when you look at it from where the firefighters (and the taxpayers who funded all of that up-front expense) stand, making the drive to that guy's burning house is alot more expensive than anybody thinks.

            That's why I advocate charging him several thousand dollars for the call.  Of course, I have also consistently advocated for those men to have responded to the very first 9-1-1 call - which was for a much smaller problem, a grass/brush fire.  Ignoring a cry for help is wrong, and one need not be a firefighter to know that.  These guys, however, forgot that and they're wrong, wrong, wrong for not rolling to that fire scene on the very first call to 9-1-1.  For that, I hold them all responsible.

            "Damn the politicians!  Full speed ahead!"  :0)

            Sorry I got a bit tense up there.  I've been walking a very, very fine line these last few days, and the stress kinda got to me.  On the one hand, we have these firefighters who obeyed a wrong order to do something wrong - not respond.  On the other hand, we have the interests of the taxpayers who actually fund that fire department every year.  On yet another hand, there's this homeowner's irresponsibility.  We can add an additional hand for Obion County's stupidity in not providing for the fire protection of their own constituents, one more hand each for the stupid ass mayor, city manager, and fire chief (all of whom are complicit in issuing the order to not respond), and another hand for everything else from the media spin in both directions to the folks on here who have taken up three different sides on this event.

            And now, I have an octopus on my hands!  I've been trying to inject some semblance of sanity and understanding in all of this.  [Use voice of stressed-out exasperation and disappointment here]:  It hasn't been working!  :0)

            Oh, and if you want to impress your buddy at work  - call him a firefighter.  We love that.  Yes, "fireman" is common and even I'll use it occasionally (especially with children).  But "firefighter" really is the correct term.  You use that in place of fireman, and he'll appreciate it.

            Celtic Merlin

            Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

            by Celtic Merlin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 at 12:48:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  According to some news sources, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Diogenes2008, Ezekial 23 20

      he had paid the $75 in the past but forgot to do so this time. His wife said they had been out of town and forgot to pay when they got back. According to Mr. Cranick on Oberman last night, both he and the neighbor said they would pay whatever it took for the fire to be put out.

  •  Um (5+ / 0-)

    thats a pretty far right libertarian view. Make that extremely narcissist and far right view.

    Were i the neighbors i would sue the hell out of the fire department for standing by and allowing the danger to my house.. that eventually resulted in fire on my property. And oh yes.. by taking the fee theyre entering into a contract.

    So tell me.. if a town decides on "contract police" and say.. an officer sees your 6 year old getting raped.. and you forgot to pay the fee. Is it his duty to his job to stand by and watch her be raped? And only to protect any other citizens who happen to be there and wearing the right "badge".. if they happen to get raped too?

    Somalia would love you. You should check it out.

    And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    by cdreid on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 03:51:33 AM PDT

    •  me (0+ / 0-)

      I'd sue the neighbor for his negligence both in causing the fire (didn't start itself) and for not paying the $75 fee, a reasonable precaution.

      if a town contracts police, we'll have the same damned problem which is why this is not firefighters fault... but both government and the people that voted to reject paying for fire support on a county level.

      This place will be like Somalia soon enough if responsible collective action has to fund those that thing fees and taxes are robbery, until they need the services they are related to.

      •  Straight out of freeperville (0+ / 0-)

        Youre usign some insanely twisted logic to argue that if a group of "firefighters" didnt .. allow a house to burn down and thus allow two others to be damaged... we will become like Somalia.

        What the firefighters did was morally wrong. What they did probably opened the fire department up to legal action. And you support it.

        And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

        by cdreid on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 01:02:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What a bullsh!t! (5+ / 0-)

    Fire had to be put out first. And then they should figure out their financial responsibilities.

    Otherwise, it's not better than legalized racketeering.

    •  or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they just stick to South Fulton city limits and the 2500 people that pay for the protection of a FD, and let the county deal with it's residents as it sees fit, which is obviously to let them put out their own damned fires.

  •  What is wrong with you? (5+ / 0-)

    "Heh, heh, heh, let's watch every single thing this family owns burn to a crisp over a lousy $75.00--that'll teach them!"

    You are a sick, cold-hearted person. I sincerely hope you never have to watch ALL your possessions burn up--I mean, it's only everything you own, right?

    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 04:28:33 AM PDT

    •  "I dare anyone Na na na na na na". (0+ / 0-)

      What's wrong with him? He's a libertarian. Look no further.

      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

      by Boreal Ecologist on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 04:44:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sanctimonies great (0+ / 0-)

        especially when you won't be fighting any fires uninsured and for free anytime soon I'll bet.

        •  and the horse you road in on. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

          by Boreal Ecologist on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 05:05:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Allow to me retort. (3+ / 0-)

          I damn well do fight fires. Because I live in a civilised country where I pay taxes so that fires are fought on my behalf by people trained and equipped to fight them.

          Fuck, I despise libertarians.

          A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

          by Boreal Ecologist on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 05:12:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yo, Chief...I mean GBCW (0+ / 0-)

          I ran almost 40,000 911 ambulance calls in a major urban area for a career. I started by being a firefighter.

          Go ____ yourself! Fill in the blank yourself, I ain't doing nuthin for you, sport!

          "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

          by Thinking Fella on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:20:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  why not (0+ / 0-)

            you lack compassion, I thought you were morally bound to help me, even if I leave a couple trash fires burning unattended.

            did you ever fight a fire or done rescue where if there was an accident the full cost fell to you personally?  I would hope not, because you already risked your life, so it's a bit ridiculous to also expect you to be on your own when the danger takes it's inevitable statistical toll?

            towns of 2500 people in rural Tennessee do not have a lot of wiggle room to support the 20000 people in that county with no fire protection.

            Instead of blame the firefighters, it'd be wiser to blame the state and county governments of Tennessee which have this system entirely intentionally and would expand it to education, police, and protect it as the status quo in health infrastructure.

    •  perhaps you (0+ / 0-)

      are sick and cold.

      one, it's not over $75 dollars, I am not going to explain why, but it has to do with how insurance works, and the real costs of firefighting, both monetary and in terms of risk to life (which needs to be insured).

      If you are so superior then you can move to Obion county which still has this problem and system, investing your resources in a fire truck to do your civil duty to the people of Obion County.

      I wouldn't ask a firefighter to save my fing possession even if I HAD paid $75 dollars, but rather, to save my life and to prevent any further loss.

      These are not babies, it's not you job to teach them, they will learn from the natural results of their actions, or not.

  •  Crispy pooties uprated (3+ / 0-)

    on Daily Kos. Three dogs and a cat burned to death while the man begged them to put it out. Also, when he called 911 he thought he was covered, he always had been, but this year he forgot. He said he'd pay whatever it took, and they said "tough!"

    Three dogs and a cat. In another case, the fire department watched a barn burn, with horses in it.

    Uprated on Daily Kos.


    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 04:49:39 AM PDT

  •  Fire fighting needs to be shared (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, Diogenes2008

    because fires are a common problem.

    Note that the neighbor's house caught on fire.  Then the fire department put it out.  But that still involves considerable inconvenience, not to mention danger, for that neighbor.

    It could have been a lot worse.  Suppose the fire spread out of control?  That may not be so likely in a relatively wet area like Tennessee, but it could happen.  That could endanger the whole region.  Or suppose the guy had a bunch of 50 lb propane cylinders stored in the house.

    Fire fighting, like other emergency services, needs to be a shared resource paid from shared resources (i. e. taxes).  At the very least, the fire department should have put it out and then charged him (put a lien on his house, if necessary) after the fact.  As chaotic as the health care system is, even that's more rational than this.  If you have a medical emergency, you get taken by ambulance if necessary to the ER and get treated, and payment is sorted out after the fact.

    Imagine if the county decided to treat police service in the same way.  Don't pay your fee?  Sorry, you don't get the protection of the law.  "Protection racket", indeed!

    •  according to the homeowner (0+ / 0-)

      the guys field was a corn field, which luckilly had just been harvested... otherwise, the guy WITH protection would have suffered losses to his livilihood which are not necessary.

      The only answer is not to blame the firefighters, but the COUNTY, or possibly the STATE or FEDERAL government, who represent those people.  A small town extending its help should not be forced to over extend itself and possibly lose it's FD altogether.

  •  I wonder if their ambulance service works the (3+ / 0-)

    same way.

    What's missing from this diary is the concept that the people who perform these jobs are presumed to be dedicated in the same way that police and the military are.  

    What were their firefighters and all that equipment even doing there if not making a point to the other homeowners?  That's extortion.  Those were thugs.

    Life was lost.  There were animals killed in that fire.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 05:54:09 AM PDT

    •  Animals died (0+ / 0-)

      because the owner did not go in to save them as soon as they had a fire. Fires do not get out of control immediately. I speculate, he figured he could put it out, or that the fire department would bail him out. I further speculate that he is a classic procrastinator. If there was time to get his family out, there was time to grab the pets at the start. He waited and cost the pets their lives.

  •  Where did you see that the fee was part of his (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    property taxes? My impression is that it is a separate bill. I have tried to find out anything about this fee on the Obion County web site and can't find anything about it, it is certainly not on the property tax page.

  •  Penny wise, pound foolish (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ezekial 23 20

    So the fire is not put out quickly when it's small and therefore can grow larger, send sparks out to catch surrounding vegetation and other homes on fire (which creates more work, not less, for all involved), devalues the property in the neighborhood, pushes the owners into homelessness or onto the welfare roles, and gets everybody all pissed off and riled up over something that could have been easily prevented?

    I just don't understand the logic.

  •  I agree fully with your second sentence. (0+ / 0-)

    There is a lot of talk about this incident, much of it irresponsible.

    But I think a lot of the irresponsible talk is right there in your diary.

    If you feel insulted by anything I've said, find out if it was intentional. I'll let you know if you ask.

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:19:06 AM PDT

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      I follow the libertarian stance to its inevitable conclusion, pointing out how complicated it is, and propose that this situation would be better served with a socialist solution. I take it you disagree with that? You must be a hard-line libertarian or Republican or missed the satire there.

      If we are going to adopt Libertarian stance for fire protection, there must be no exceptions. We must all act hard. Do you deny that?

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