Tennessee Firemen ignore burning house over unpaid subscription fee

JBean

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I manage a vacant property in Yucaipa. I have to do weed abatement every spring to minimize the fire risk, because as Nova can attest, the fire risk out that way is quite high. Particularly on vacant land with overgrown weeds.
Last season, the weed abatement dudes did not get the work done in time. So, in their frenzy to get it done, they used a weed wacker. Weed wackers create sparks and sparks cause fires and that is exactly what happened.
The fire dept came out after it burned about an acre of brush and were able to put it out and keep it from damaging any nearby structure.
But, since the abatement was not done by the due date, they bill for the time and resources they had to use to put the fire out.
If I defer to the city to do the weed abatement, they are on the hook for any fire damage that may be caused and/or if I get it done on time they cover all the services. Seems reasonable to me.
 

reportertype

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Why are we allowing for something that hasn't been said? Maybe - he or she gets more out of it by it burning down? Maybe they are close to foreclosure? Maybe they get more out of their insurance than what was owed and it was worth it burning down? I mean if we're going to allow for things not reported, then lets allow for the full range.

I'm actually not sure of the legality of forcing one county to pay another county that way - I can't think of an instance where that occurs. It comes down to core beliefs of what the government can and can't do - and opinions certainly won't change based on this thread.


Are you talking about the county assessing taxes and paying a fee to the city for services? It happens all the time. They are called interlocal agreements and they are used for a variety of things, fire, police (for small towns that have no city force a contract would go with the county SO and libraries just to name a few.
 

ziggy

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If one guy decides not to pay for the service (and this happens a lot in rural areas where you must pay for fire protections services from neighboring areas) and he's protected, then everyone else will just slack too and then there's no money to pay the firefighters and then there are none and the big red trucks are useless.

This is one of those instances where $75 might have been a lot of money, but I lived in Tennessee for nine years and I know that if he went to church and said, hey, I'll work around here, do some yardwork, paint, whatever for a donation of $75 to pay for my fire protection the homeowners could have raised the money. Heck, they would have been given the money.

The problem is, they just didn't feel like paying it or didn't make any effort to find the means but their neighbors did; and their neighbors deserved the protection because they paid. It is a hard lesson to learn but I think they did not deserve the fire protection.

Now the community will probably come together and help them out as it should be. Had they asked for help earlier, this would have been avoided.

We have a growing sense of entitlement in this country and that's not how it is supposed to be. Everybody has to pay in - everybody in some way. Those firemen have families to feed; and if the homeowner's couldn't afford it they would have received help had they asked or worked for it. I think they were either lazy or felt entitled. They will think a little deeper from now on.
 

Charlie09

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I don't necessarily disagree, but I can't help noticing you haven't offered one of those "other great ideas."

That's because I think they should have paid the $75.00 -
 

Charlie09

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Are you talking about the county assessing taxes and paying a fee to the city for services? It happens all the time. They are called interlocal agreements and they are used for a variety of things, fire, police (for small towns that have no city force a contract would go with the county SO and libraries just to name a few.

In rural Obion County, homeowners must pay $75 annually for fire protection services from the nearby city of South Fulton.
I was under the impression it was a neighboring county originally.
 

Nova

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That's because I think they should have paid the $75.00 -

Well, we all think that; hell, even THEY think that now.

But it doesn't solve the problem of negligent people who fail to pay for protection which then allows fires from their homes to spread to others.
 

Pandora

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I live in a town with a volunteer fire company and I pay $50 directly to the fire company for fire protection. The house next door to us (brick, like ours) has been vacant for 20 years. While it doesn't look too bad, I'm sure the owner (who lives out of town) isn't paying his $50 fee. The odds are, if his house catches on fire, it will spread fairly rapidly (100+year old timbers). The house above it is half brick/half clapboard. It will probably spread there first, but our 20X24 foot deck is also in danger.
We have spent our own money to do some maintenance on the abandoned house, so it doesn't look quite as bad as it did when we moved here and the owner appreciates it, but I'd love to see him FORCED to purchase fire protection. Now that I've seen this story, I'm seriously considering paying for it myself. :(
 

Charlie09

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Well, we all think that; hell, even THEY think that now.

But it doesn't solve the problem of negligent people who fail to pay for protection which then allows fires from their homes to spread to others.

They lost their possessions, and would be liable in court for the other damages that's what happens.
 

Quiche

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Fire is a risk to the entire community-- you put it out at all costs. Gmab.
 

Nova

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They lost their possessions, and would be liable in court for the other damages that's what happens.

Well, sure, litigation is one way to to approach the problem. It's a very expensive and time-consuming remedy, however, one more readily available to the rich than to the the poor, and small comfort to the dead and to those who lose items that are irreplaceable.

How 'bout we just have government do its job in the first place?
 

Charlie09

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Well, sure, litigation is one way to to approach the problem. It's a very expensive and time-consuming remedy, however, one more readily available to the rich than to the the poor, and small comfort to the dead and to those who lose items that are irreplaceable.

How 'bout we just have government do its job in the first place?

The government did it's job, it made available fire protection - which we've agreed the couple chose to not pay with devastating consequences. actions=consequences.
 

cbanning

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I'm stunned...

wth if your job is "firefighter" then you fight fires, no matter what your boss says. I'm an artist, I create, whether people like it or not. That is what I do. Money and politics are other people's problems. I take pride in my job, I work first, think later. WTH, just wth...

I'm sorry, but Firefighters must do what their bosses say. Their lives and the lives of fellow firefighters depend on following orders. That is why they follow the military command. Firefighters follow orders, period. If you chose not to 'create' what your boss wants the most that could happen is you get fired. For a firefighter, it could mean someones gets hurt or killed.

Maybe this incident will rally the county to start a volunteer dept.
 

LinasK

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I'm sorry, but Firefighters must do what their bosses say. Their lives and the lives of fellow firefighters depend on following orders. That is why they follow the military command. Firefighters follow orders, period. If you chose not to 'create' what your boss wants the most that could happen is you get fired. For a firefighter, it could mean someones gets hurt or killed.
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I disagree, because the same could be said of Hitler's soldiers, they were just "carrying out orders". There's a point in human beings when you know right from wrong. Letting a house burn down unneccesarily for no GOOD reason, which also resulted in the needless deaths of 4 animals is WRONG!!! I would've disobeyed my fire captains and grabbed a hose!
 

cbanning

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And if these guys ignored orders and they got hurt, what would happen then? Insurance is certainly not going to pay. Human life is much more important than property. The fact of the matter is the homerowner knew he had to pay for protection and he chose not to. He made the decision, not the fire dept.
 

LinasK

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And if these guys ignored orders and they got hurt, what would happen then? Insurance is certainly not going to pay. Human life is much more important than property. The fact of the matter is the homerowner knew he had to pay for protection and he chose not to. He made the decision, not the fire dept.
You don't know for a fact that he chose not to, and 4 animals lives were lost because of the fire department's decision. When is animal life not worthy of human life??? I highly doubt his insurance will pay when the fire department made no attempt to put it out.
 

cbanning

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You don't know for a fact that he chose not to, and 4 animals lives were lost because of the fire department's decision. When is animal life not worthy of human life??? I highly doubt his insurance will pay when the fire department made no attempt to put it out.

Again, not the fire dept. decision, the homeowners! If he had paid his dues, he would have had protection, plain and simple.

Sorry, as a wife of a firefighter, I believe my husband's life is much more important than my animals. I love my dogs, but they can't provide for me and the kids.

Remember, this was a mobile home, I doubt by the time they got there that they would have been able to save much, if anything.
 

LinasK

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Again, not the fire dept. decision, the homeowners! If he had paid his dues, he would have had protection, plain and simple.

Sorry, as a wife of a firefighter, I believe my husband's life is much more important than my animals. I love my dogs, but they can't provide for me and the kids.

Remember, this was a mobile home, I doubt by the time they got there that they would have been able to save much, if anything.
They made a decision for him, he tried to pay up on the spot, but you do NOT know why he hadn't paid before. Maybe he couldn't afford it, maybe he forgot, maybe he thought he'd already paid. To have to lose his animals, his home, and all his possessions is a disgusting lesson the fire captain taught him!!! :razz:Why couldn't the fire department have saved his home, then billed him for it????
And this guy agrees with me!
International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold Schaitberger today issued the following statement on the September 29 fire in Obion County, Tennessee:
“The decision by the South Fulton Fire Department to allow a family’s home to burn to the ground was incredibly irresponsible. This tragic loss of property was completely avoidable. Because of South Fulton’s pay-to-play policy, fire fighters were ordered to stand and watch a family lose its home.
“Everyone deserves fire protection because providing public safety is among a municipality’s highest priorities.
“Instead, South Fulton wants to charge citizens outside the city for fire protection. We condemn South Fulton’s ill-advised, unsafe policy. Professional, career fire fighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up. They get in their trucks and go.”


Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/10/05...#ixzz11WJS9s2R
 

Angels_Not_Forgotten

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Regardless, HE HAD the money then, THEY HAD the hoses. I could wonder more about the firefighters, how they feel in the aftermath. I mean, it couldn't have been easy for those guys. The job is one of nothing but risking your lives to help others. The bottom line is they weren't looking for a handout. They were a little late. And whoever made that decision to turn away their money is a cold, callous, horrible person. I don't have to know whoever it was to know that. He may be a good "manager" of the fire department, but on a personal level, he blows donkey. MY honest opinion.
 

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I have been watching and reading about this situation for days and it seems so simple to me. As a citizen of my country and my community and my neighorhood - regardless of where one lives - put the fire out first and deal with who owes what later.

There could have been an elderly or disabled person at that address OR children. Maybe not residents but there to visit or in need. Innocent people not in control or aware of finances. And, add the damage to the neighbors or forests and community of those who have paid. This is a very poor judgment call by the officials of that area.

I shudder to think that emergency responders have to check my paid or tax status before they respond to my need. Is it possible that at times computer systems are down or not up to date? Or, there are input errors and we have to make trips to an office to confirm our paid status?

Bottom line, the emergency responders should be able to do their job and the fianancial people can sort out the rest later. If someone did not pay for their fire proctection - bill them later. IF someone refused to pay - or couldn't pay - charge them the full amount of the firefighters, hourly wage plus overtime, gas for the trucks, water, etc. Their bill could increase from $75. for a year to to several thousand for one incident.

It would be a bargain to those who lose everything in a fire.
 
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