(WARNING: I am extremely pissed off right now)
Where the F*ck is common decency? What if this was your mother’s home burning down?! This story fires me up beyond belief (no pun intended)… In a nut shell, a homeowner didn’t pay the $75 yearly fee to have access to the fire service, so when he called 911 to get someone out to stop it from burning to the ground they said they couldn’t help him. From the story:
“Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the fire, along with three dogs and a cat. “They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn’t do it,” Cranick told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.”… Firefighters did eventually show up, but only to fight the fire on the neighboring property, whose owner had paid the fee.”They put water out on the fence line out here. They never said nothing to me. Never acknowledged. They stood out here and watched it burn,” Cranick said.”
This sickens me. That no one would stand up and have the decency to cut the bull$hit and save the house? And even worse, the FOUR ANIMALS that were killed because of them? Come ON. If I were PETA I’d be all on that. Over a measly $75 that was or was not forgotten on purpose (yeah, obviously they should have paid it – but does that justify it?!! You can’t collect it afterward and apply some fee or something for being an idiot?).
And what if there was a person in there? I’d like to think they’d have gotten off their asses to save a HUMAN LIFE, but in all honestly who knows… Wouldn’t want to break any rules!
I’m sorry for ranting like a lunatic here, but it’s stuff like this just saddens me about this world. People stuck in their boxes and too afraid to think for themselves and do what’s RIGHT – regardless of the structure set up around them. I hope this story gets even more viral to wake others up and remind us to have some compassion. No one should lose their home and pets over $75.00, that’s ridiculous.
(Photo by 111 Emergency – not the house in question)
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I’m with you on this one. This was very troubling, especially with the firemen responding to the neighbor and didn’t even acknowledge the original fire.
I saw this as well on Keith Olbermann. I figured there HAD to be a reasonable explanation for this but no. I really don’t see how that’s possible. Some places in this country are just ass backwards.
My husband actually tried to argue the devil’s advocate position, basically that fire protection is not a given in rural areas and that there may have been some insurance issues for the firefighters if they had fought the main fire and someone was injured.
Obviously, those arguments are bullshit in face of the true situation and reek a bit of the Nuremburg defense. Besides, not providing basic public safety services (police and fire) in face of an unpaid fee seems like a protection racket/shakedown.
Sorry, but I believe that you’re off base on this. What’s the point of having a $75 fee if there is no consequence for failing to pay it?
The department is structured so that they earn revenue based on these fees. Saying that they should have provided their service to those that, if a child is told not to play in a quarry and they do so– but break their legs on rocks– it is the quarry owner’s fault. The kid should have known better.
You should be reprimanding the homeowner who refused to pay the $75 fee, not the fire department. If the homeowner believed himself or herself too independent to pay the fee, they should be treated as such. What’s happened to personal responsibility, when people refuse to pay for services and then demand that they receive them?
My only complaint with the firefighters in this situation is that the they didn’t say “Since you haven’t paid the 75 fee, we’ll do it for you now, but we’re going to charge you 300 for this year, and you have to sign a 5 year contract with our service too” and then save his house.
The fact that he lost his house because he didn’t pay is horrific, but I take the side of personal responsibility. It was a measly amount of money, and it was his responsibility to pay for the service.
That doesn’t mean I don’t care about what happened, or think it wasn’t disgusting because it was, just that I blame the home owner whose responsibility was to pay.
As for “protection racket” it sounds like the exact opposite. Fire insurance as a free market? Anywhere else in the world, it’s mandatory taxes and the government provides the service. Over there it seems to be a free market. which sounds closer to “Protection racket”?
So it’s okay to let animals BURN TO DEATH? You would honestly just watch that happen to make a point of personal responsibility?
I get that the guy’s moronic for not paying the fee, and sure okay – his fault for putting himself in this position, yeah he should be held accountable for that. But morally I just don’t see how you can stand by and let that happen. Loving your neighbor comes first in my books, and thank God there were no people in that house.
I’m with you but I’m just as made at the homeowner for being such an ass for not making some sort of arrangement to pay the fire department some $ to keep the department going.
We have mountains and skiing where I’m from and every year a skier decides to go ‘out of bounds’ and get lost. My friends are on search and rescue and I don’t know how they do it (or at least with any grace). The people that purposely go out of bounds skiing to take the known risk that is getting lost and possible dieing from exposure…..Calling 911 from an unknown mountain top asking to be rescued and putting rescuers lives on the line trying to find them is the thing that pisses me off!
I agree that he didn’t pay the fee and that it doesn’t entitle him to free services, but at the same point, I read that he offered to pay anything necessary. They should have agreed to fight the fire and then sent him a bill for time and materials.
I look at it as the $75 was insurance. If you don’t have insurance and something happens where you need to fix something, you have the option of paying to have it fixed or not. Where the story broke down is that the firefighters wouldn’t even give him that option. I’m sure the guy would have rather had gotten a bill after the fact for $900 or whatever versus seeing everything he owned go down in flames.
Hopefully he was smart enough to buy homeowners insurance if he was consciously making a decision to decline firefighter services. With that being said, he made the decision to decline service and it didn’t work out very well for him.
There’s no fundamental difference between this and someone buying a car and not getting a warranty. Would you be upset if this theoretical car owner had something break on the car and his local mechanic didn’t offer to fix it free just because “he really needed help”?
2 main differences here:
1) no one died in that car
2) no one stood around and just watched it happen while ignoring you
and plus, the guy offered to pay “whatever” it takes to get it put out. you bet your ass a mechanic in that case would say “great! lets get to work!”
it’s the lack of compassion that pisses me off here.
I can’t wait to see what this family’s home insurance company is going to do.
Fire Department was at the scene with plenty of time to put out the fire. Guy made passionate pleas to save the house. Even offered to pay the fee on site.
Seems like an argument right out of first semester torts class to me, and you know many JDs will be willing to take on a case of this magnitude solely for the attention.
Totally fucked. I wonder if there will be a fund set up to donate to help these people? I hope they sue
What if there was a child in the house?! they would have just sat there and not gone in to help? That is bullshit! And animals–to me, just as important as children. So sad.
Who actually watches Keith Olberman anymore? (Haven’t even considered it since he was on ESPN). Anyways…
I don’t understand why the contract could be setup such that if you pay the $75 fee, great…you get protection. If you choose not to, you’ll get billed for the entire cost of the services if you need them. Trucks/mileage/wages/water…I imagine this would run somewhere around a few thousand.
That way the community still has the incentive to pay the fee, the city still gets the revenue either way, but no one is left without service.
Frankly I am more disgusted at the home owners for the death of the pets than the fire department. In local news it was reported that it took two hours for the fire to spread to the house. TWO HOURS and they somehow weren’t able to get the animals out of the house in that time frame! You got to be kidding me. I would have in those two hours figured out how to get the pets out and probably some important documents and heirlooms too.
Yes, the county should have had some provision that if you didn’t pay the annual fee, you could agree to pay the full cost of the fire department coming and get service that way. I am sure that county policy and their insurance could be set up to allow that. But I find it hard to sympathize with people who left four animals in the house when they had two hours to evacuate them and then blamed the fire department and county policy for their deaths.
Areas like this are experimenting with cutting taxes and cutting spending. The belief is that services like police and fire departments are built around socialist ideals — the government takes a percentage of your income and uses it for the common good. Thus, because people are so afraid that the government is treading on them by taxing them, some areas are now charging for those services and taking them out of municipal budgets. Of course, this creates absolutely terrible ethical dilemmas with inhumane results. Not that I think anthing here was justified, I’m actually fairly surprised that he wouldn’t pay a $75 fee to protect himself — and his neighbors — from thousands or millions of dollars worth of damage.
I’m sorry this happened but I will not blame the firefighters or county for this. Paying the fee was the responsibility of the homeowner, and he didnt do so. Also, claiming to “pay whatever is necessary” after the fact is moot considering i) if he could “pay whatever is necessary,” im sure he would’ve paid the $75 fee earlier and ii) if everyone did this, the fire department would have no revenue since no one would pay until their house was on fire.
It pisses me off that the pets died, and that this family lost all their possessions, but the homeowner needs to be held accountable, not the firefighters or county.
I’m with you, totally! I DESPISE the culture that we live in where it is OK to not accept responsibility or to pawn it off on someone else. And I understand first-hand the straits local fire companies are in. But, this is not someone who purposely skiied out of bounds. He simply didn’t pay – for whatever reason – and I highly doubt he set his house on fire on purpose. (I’m pretty conscientious about paying bills myself, but have been known to misplace them from time to time.) So in a life-threatening situation, error was placed on the side of destroying property and murdering animals?
Really – would they have let a person burn, too? Send him a bill or whatever, but this particular situation reeks of lack of conscience, empathy, and compassion on the part of the person(s) who decided not to act. It’s a good thing the hospital emergency room staff and police don’t approach crises this way. “Help! I’m 16 and I’ve been kidnapped and stuffed in the trunk of a car!” “Ok, give me your name and address so I can check if your parents paid their fee. If not, we can’t help you. Good luck with the kidnapping thing, though.”
Can I just say by letting it burn, they endangered more lives, because it spread to a second house. Yeah, he didn’t pay the fee, but to let it burn is to endanger more people. If they had put it out right away, it would have been safer for all involved. I think this just shows that people are caring about their bottom line and not about people’s lives. People’s lives should come first. Always. It’s why I work to get legislation passed in this country to make sure it does. When we as a society care more about our bottom line, then the human being next to us, we have lost what it means to live.
Wow, this is shocking. I’m happy in my country firefighters actually show up and try their best to save you and your belongings. And they have small wages (if not voluntaries) and none of the amazing tools your guys have. But they have COMPASSION AND SOUL. Those in the story should just give up this job. It’s not for them.
PS: yes, I agree the house owner SHOULD pay. He could have paid right there and then and not have to plead to jerks to save his house, while they just stood there. Animals! And don’t get me started on those small souls who found their death there
In my area I pay $50.00 a year for protection. If I choose not to pay it or forget to the fire department will come out BUT I would be charged for mileage, each truck that shows up and how long they sit idle to put out the fire. The guy should have paid yes, but for me it’s about compassion. Work out something with him, bill him for services used.
What in the world??? I understand WHY this happened, but come on…what is a “$75 yearly fee to have access to the fire service?” How can we make basic emergency access an option? It should be covered in taxes IMO.
i’m even more sickened than i was before. the article my mom and i read on monday didn’t mention any pets. i was already pissed, but that further enrages me. bureaucratic bullshit
Yeah, this is a tough one. J Money, I disagree with you on one thing only really. I believe you actually intended the pun when you said it fires you up :)
Other than that it’s a very touchy subject. Maybe there is a middle ground like Rick has where it is prohibitively expensive for those who don’t pay – like $200 or more per year for each year you’ve owned the house and didn’t pay. I guess they’re just trying to avoid no one paying.
The saddest part certarinly is the animals. It’s hard to believe they wouldn’t at least fight the fire until the animals were out.
Since this story seems to be the internet recreational outrage of the moment I’ve read a lot about it over the last day.
I agree that this situation is messed up, but I don’t put the blame on the fire department. I put a fair amount of blame on the Crannicks and more of the blame on the local municipality.
As far as Crannick goes, it seems like he changed his story for Olberman where he states that he’s paid this in the past and simply forgot this year. If this were true I would fell more sympathy for him. However, according to stories printed before this blew up into a world wide story, Crannick says “I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong.” (See motherjones.com for the story) Granted, I don’t have all the information, but it seems that he was aware of the fee and chose not to pay it assuming that the fire would be put out anyway. He’s a freeloader expecting other people to look out for his interests.
The real blame goes to the county (and its voters) who decided they didn’t want to pay county taxes to have a fire department of their own or to secure agreements for neighboring municipalities to provide the service for their residents.
I think the fire company is essentially blameless. The department is from a neighboring town and is paid through taxes from that town’s residents. The department has essentially said, “Because your local government is so crappy anyone you lives there is able to pay $75 a year to get fire protection from us.” If the department responds to and puts out every fire in the county as a matter of course, even for people who don’t live in it, then why would anyone in the county pay the fee. They would just be getting a free service paid for by the taxes of the neighboring town. If this were the case the department would just end the optional service and everyone in the county would be without fire protection. They’d be screwed because of freeloaders like Crannick.
Two last points. My understanding is that if people are in danger the department will respond in a rescue capacity even for residences that have not paid the fee. Finally, some have said that the department should have put out the fire once the owner has said that he is willing to pay for whatever the costs are. Some departments have done this system in the past and found that about 50% of people don’t pay the bills and the departments don’t have any effective means of going after these people to collect. Not to mention that the department needs a steady stream of funding to pay for ongoing upkeep and training costs.
So while it’s a tough situation I think it is the local municipality and their residents that are to blame for being unwilling to pay the taxes required to afford basic services for the community.
I can’t wait when I’ll have to pay for police protection also.
I might be wrong on this – but I’m pretty sure that I’m not.
My brother-in-law is a firefighter and I’m fairly certain that firefighters will not go into a burning house to save animals. If it is safe, yes they can maybe run in quick and grab them. But they are not going to put any of the firefighters at risk to save pets.
I love my cats to death – but if my house is burning down and it’s not safe to enter then I am not going to send my brother in law in the house to risk his life for them.
I think that this guy decided not to pay thinking, “What are they going to do? Not put out the fire? Yeah, right…” Well, yeah. I mean, why would anyone pay it if they would just come and put it out anyway? Then its just like asking for donations and lord knows that there are never enough people out there to support organizations to live off of those.
So unless the firefighters got there when it was just like a small campfire in the garage still and were just standing there roasting marshmallows over it – I think that we are probably hearing the extreme one-side of this story.
And, I hate to say it, but how much you want to bet that a crazy amount of ‘late payments’ all of a sudden came into the fire department to pay there fee this week?
Listen, it sucks that this guy’s house burned to the ground and that his pets died. But this man made the decision that his pets were not worth $75 to him when he “forgot” to pay the annual fee. A lot of fire departments are VOLUNTEER and are not paid with tax dollars like a police station. If people don’t pay the fee, the department shuts down.
To me, this is just another example of people not understanding that tax dollars – your money – goes for services that you’ll need some day. People want to bitch and moan about paying taxes but cry because their house burns down and no one is there to put out the fire? If I owned a home, it would be a priority of mine to make sure this annual fee was paid.
And like Mike said, they can’t rely on someone “saying they’ll pay anything.” Would a normal business operate this way? No and neither should fire departments. If you want a fire department to respond to every call no matter what, they should be paid with tax dollars instead of being volunteer outfits.
This is a tough one and I can see how people would take different sides but I gotta go with J. on this one. I can’t believe they wouldn’t help out. Someones home and pets are worth way more than being petty over $75. I can’t believe the neighbors didn’t try to help out since the fire dept wouldn’t. Unbelievable
It is mind-boggling to me that in ANY fire emergency, the first step is to verify that the victim(s) paid the fee. So if the fire is spreading to other properties, I guess they stand there with their big “naughty and nice” book and say, “Ok, you paid; we can help you. Ooops, sorry, ma’am, you’re out of luck. Didn’t pay that pesky fee.”
I just read more of the comments on here and I’m a little peeved at all the people who think that the fire department was being ‘greedy’.
Are you serious? Do you have ANY clue how much an average firefighter makes? My B-I-L is a firefighter/paramedic (which means he gets paid more then most) and he barley clears $35K a year. He has to work a second job on his days off just to keep his family on their feet because my sis can’t even get a part time job out of the house because his hours are so random and he’s always on call, and someone has to stay with the kids.
I think THIS guy was greedy because he didn’t pay his $75 stupid fee that most of us just pay out of our taxes somewhere. And obviously the option to have it in the taxes was voted out at some point by people in the community who were looking for something to cut. So, it’s totally okay for people in this community to just not pay, or support, these guys that risk their life every single day, until THEY need THEIR help? What’s next? Asking the guys to pay for the trucks or water they use too because, heck, I pay taxes so technically I should own that firetruck too and I never use it so why should I have to pay for it? Blah, blah, blah.
And finally, NO – THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE LET SOMEONE BURN TO DEATH IN THE HOUSE. You can argue to compare a person and a dog or cat all day long if you want, but you know that would never have happened. Yeah, these totally ‘soulless greedy firefighters’ who spend every day putting out fires, work crazy hours, spend time away from their families, and put themselves in danger ever day for hardly any money because the community keeps cutting their pay – are just in it for the green and would have let someone burn to death. Give me a break.
“When we as a society care more about our bottom line, than the human being next to us, we have lost what it means to live.” – I think this quote from Miss Lissy sums up my feelings perfectly.
Money & Rules come before helping your neighbor. Same problems you see every now and then in hospitals. No insurance? well you might die right here in the room then. look, i’m no expert in understanding how this works, and what the options are in fixing it and the repercussions, etc. etc, but when you whittle it down to the absolute basics, morality has to come first. It’s not always about ME me ME, F*ck everyone else. This is life, we’re all in it together.
@Beth, @Rachel211 – Yeah, I’m not sure how long or why they couldn’t get out their own animals within the 2 hours. Maybe it went up too fast and it was unsafe to go in themselves? Thinking the firemen would in plenty of time? It’s a good question. I will agree that you can’t put yourself in harm’s way like that over animals. Even though my wife probably would ;)
@Nick – haha…. you got me. I did mean the pun ;)
My husband is a firefighter. In the 2009 election, there was a measure on the ballot that would charge all property owners $200 a YEAR if they owned at $200,000 home and it would be scaled from there based on the value of your house. These funds would allow for police, fire, city parks, pools, and other things that we count on to keep our city safe and a lovely place to live.
The measure failed. Voters were given the opportunity to say yes, we want a safe, beautiful city and they said no. As a result, police and fire jobs were cut, meaning we have less people on call every day and night. Every pool in the city is closed and city parks have to wrangle volunteer days to clean them up.
I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Crannick. If you want services, you pay for them. If you don’t, don’t complain about it afterwards.
“When we as a society care more about our bottom line, than the human being next to us, we have lost what it means to live.” – I think this quote from Miss Lissy sums up my feelings perfectly.
I agree – but this guy obviously didn’t care about how the hundreds of guys who work in the fire department eat and pay bills every week. All he cared about was saving himself $75 and why they weren’t there to help him when he needed it.
“But it was just $75!” Okay – let’s look at that. Let’s say you come from a small city of about 75,000 like the one I came from in South Dakota. There were lots of people who lived up in the hills that were hard to get to just like this guy. And let’s say that the community decided instead of a tax, everyone had to pay a fire fee of $75.
Now, let’s assume that 10% of the people in the town decided that they just didn’t need that, or had better things to spend money on, just plain forgot, or “What are they gonna do? Not put it out?” – that comes out to a loss of over $562,000 a year to the fire department. That is probably about the yearly salary of 16 or so guys on the fire team.
When does “caring about the bottom line” get to a point where the people who are not paying are caring about the people who do the work? Seems to me, logically, that they are just as guilty about caring about their personal bottom line.
J. Money, and when they save this guys house for free? Then what? They lose half their customers because they’ll do it for free anyways? Then they go out of business. Then they don’t have jobs. (Not to mention the greedy people are even more at risk because now none of them are insured.)
I’m sorry, I can’t see how anyone but the homeowner is morally in the wrong. He had a responsibility, he failed in it.
If I was his neighbour, I’d help him, but as it is, I wouldn’t expect the firemen to, nor would I hold it against them in that situation.
And it would not surprise me one bit to find out that this guy was not totally paid up on his home insurance, or personal property, because “hey, when am I ever going to need THAT?! Come on…”
In some sense, I agree that he should have to pay, but at the same time, he offered. Also, I think it’s really irresponsible that they let the fire spread to a second house and then came and put that one out because they paid their fee. Now, instead of one family suffering, we have two families suffering. I don’t think it’s greed, I think it’s being stubborn, I think it’s trying to make a point and I’m not sure this is the best way to make it. I’m not sure who is in the wrong and I’m not trying to play the blame game, I’m just saying that this is what happens when people get caught up in their bottom line, be it money or rules or whatever point they’re trying to make and people WILL get hurt. Just because it was only animals this time, doesn’t mean that next time it won’t be people. I mean, we already do this re: the hospital thing that J. said. I had a friend’s brother almost die of appendicitis because her family didn’t have health insurance at the time.
I think as my final standing, I will leave this quote by Heinrich Heine:
“Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.”
It means, “Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.” It’s a slippery slope and while yeah, right now it’s just a house and some animals, next time, it will be much worse.
@ Miss Lissy
(I’m not trying to be heated, or argue – just continuing discussion :)
“In some sense, I agree that he should have to pay, but at the same time, he offered” – you can’t do that. You can’t build a budget and pay people’s salary one $75 “please rescue my house” at a time. What if it had just been his shed that could have possibly spread? Would he have offered them $10 instead? And what would they have done with that $75? Go back and hand it out one dollar at a time to each guy? Pay the electric bill? You can’t run a company like that.
“they let the fire spread to a second house and then came and put that one out because they paid their fee. Now, instead of one family suffering, we have two families suffering.”
From what I read above, they people next door did not have a fire at their house. The fire spread to their property line where it was put out. In fact, these firemen who were not paid to be there, probably had to go all the way around this guys house and property to all the places it bordered to keep it from spreading further to the forest.
“re: the hospital thing that J. said. I had a friend’s brother almost die of appendicitis because her family didn’t have health insurance at the time. ”
I do agree with this – and that is why I am totally in 100% support of a national healthcare system. But yet, we see even with peoples lives truly in danger – people still constantly vote against everyone being healthy because they don’t want the money coming out of their pocket. It’s exactly the same thing the guy did not paying the $75!
“It means, “Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.” It’s a slippery slope and while yeah, right now it’s just a house and some animals, next time, it will be much worse.”
I’m sorry – but this quote is TAKEN SO BADLY OUT OF CONTEXT that its not even funny. This is referring to people who burn books on purpose for censorship reasons, and mostly likely in direct reference to Nazis. Not even remotely close to an accidental fire. And to compare a firefighter to this kind of action isn’t even worth considering.
I agree with everything you said but I still can’t see it that way. People need to get paid but we need to find a balance between people getting paid and people being safe. I think here thy let that get out of balance.
Also I know the quote is about censorship but I still say it because when we let things: rules, money, idealogy, the idea that this guy deserves what he got – when we let those go by the wayside, when we let a house burn because we’re taking a stand the next step I that we will let people burn. I don’t see it as that far of a jump. After all wasn’t this house let to burn to ground because of the idealogy that he should hve paid? Yes Nazism was worse I won’t deny that and will always uphold it but it stared out innocently enough. Hitler didn’t wake up and say let’s exterminate all Jews. No he woke up and said let’s make this a stronger country. Similarily people will die if we continue on this thinking that the people who get help are the people who pay. Thy’s a slippery slope to America being a country that cares only for the wealthy and leaves everyone else to die. It won’t be deliberate (I would hope) but letting people die when you could have stopped things is no different than killing those people.
I am on the side of J on this one. If you read the article on AOL (link: http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/firefighters-let-home-burn-after-finding-owner-didnt-pay-annual-fee/19662595?icid=main|main|dl1|sec3_lnk1|175688), you see that he had paid the $75.00 fee last year and every year prior to that.
One commenter made the point that the fire authority should have let him pay the fee and whatever penalties associated with the lapsed policy to save his home. Basically, they decided to make an example of him by letting everything he owned burn (including animals, who are defenseless). It is disgusting. They could have made an example out of him by charging him up the yang with penalties and not looked like complete degenerates in the end.
The owner was an idiot. Everyone can agree on that. But there were other ways to handle this situation and the fire authority chose the wrong way. It was heartless, indecent, and bad business.
So, when does personal responsibility come in? It’s all great to pay your bills ‘in theory’ but when do you stop? What if he spent all his money on whatever and then went to the grocery store and insisted that they give him free food because he was starving? This is why we all have to pay our taxes to get the things that we all use taken care of. Because eventually someones house has to burn down. If they had got to a point where so many people didn’t pay their fees that there were just plain not enough firefighters to go out there and do it, this would be a completely different story.
Also they were burning garbage on their property. They started the fire and it got out of control. I know that you have to obtain burn permits in order to burn garbage or brush on your property – and I would be willing to bet that since these guys didn’t pay the fire fee that there is NO WAY that they would have given them one. So, I’m guessing that they didn’t pay the fee and they were also probably burning illegally on their property.
And like I stated before – the would not have let people burn to death. I refuse to believe that.
Like I said, it’s a fine line and it’s hard to know how to balance personal responsibility with the needs of other people. On the one hand, everyone should be responsible for themselves, but on the other hand, we can not run society on our own, everything you do unless you run a farm and are completely self-sufficient getting your own oil from the ground and everything, we are all interconnected. It’s so hard because we don’t teach personal responsibility anymore, we teach, look out for number one. They’re different, in their motivations. I think though, that we should all be responsible for each other too. We can’t do it on our own.
Also, you don’t need a burning permit everywhere. So it’s possible where he lived, you didn’t need one.
And I don’t know why you refuse to believe that they wouldn’t let people burn to death. We let people die for lack of insurance – how would letting them burn to death be different? Both can be stopped.
“And I don’t know why you refuse to believe that they wouldn’t let people burn to death. We let people die for lack of insurance – how would letting them burn to death be different? Both can be stopped.”
I personally – have never seen an article where it specifically states that someone died from a hospital turning them away at the door and refusing them treatment and that person dying.
I have heard thousands of stories of people getting poor quality treatment, or losing everything they have and going into millions of dollars of debt because of lack of insurance though.
Also, you seem positive that they WOULD have let people burn to death. Fact is neither of us know what would have happened if there were people in the house. There are tons of hypothetical situations we could attach to this story – but in this case there were not people in there. It was stated earlier that it took 2 hours for the house to catch fire. Why didn’t the people who live there get the animals out? For me, did they need a burn permit? I really don’t know. But the story has left a LOT out of it from both sides.
I agree, I don’t know if they WOULD have let a person burn to death but I don’t see anything that would stop them from doing it. I see it all as one big, slippery slope. Every time you let something go on, you get a little closer. That’s how I see it anyways. It does leave a lot to be left out and I’m sure, if it gets this much buzz now, that more and more details will emerge, probably on both sides of the issue.
I agree with you. It is especially tragic that the animals died. Those are family members.
And I see it as a slippery slope in the other direction – if nobody is responsible to pay any bills, or take care of themselves – then how do you take care of all these people? Eventually you are just going to run out of ways to help.
If you don’t pay the bills then you can’t pay the firefighters. Then you go to volunteers!
If you can’t pay for the firehouse, where do you put the trucks? At the volunteers houses!
If you can’t pay for the firetrucks? You, uh…start hauling buckets?
I honestly think that THIS is more likely the slippery slope that would actually happen considering that the fire department is run by the local government and not by a private corporation.
It’s the same thing you see allllllll the time in this country – “I want everything to be awesome, but don’t ask ME to pay for it! Don’t you dare raise my taxes! And, oh yeah – balance the budget already! And give me a tax cut too!”
The problem is that the fee for a necessary service was voluntary in the first place. Was it wrong to let this burn down? Sure. Is it wrong to expect a service for free? Yes. Both parties are to blame, which means it would have been best if this situation could never have arisen. Basic services like this should be a mandatory cost.
My mom JUST sent me this story. I totally agree with you—they could have assessed the guy some fee after the fire was put out. It’s just awful that the family’s pets had to die because of bureaucracy.
Totally agree with you here. Unconscionable. Really. And I’ve read all the arguments above.
Welcome to tea party America, where safety net services are a la carte, pay as you go… With minimal taxation, each citizen of this town would be safe. Perhaps this man could not afford the $75? I am extremely conscientious, but I still can forget to pay a bill.
What in the world is going on here? Why are there so many people in this country thinking that it is okay to let a house burn down? The firefighters were RIGHT THERE! They were not allowed to put the fire out – I don’t blame them because in this recession, who wants to lose their job? But what kind of moronic person would say that this man deserved to have his house burn down because he didn’t pay the $75 – sure serves him right, huh? Yeah, they sure taught him and all of us a lesson, didn’t they? To be afraid… very afraid.
And furthermore, this man claims that many other times, the firefighters put out fires at homes that did not pay the $75. In other words, they waived the fee temporarily to do what firefighters are sworn to do: serve and protect. So, why should this guy have thought they wouldn’t do the same for him?
Restore America Tea Party folks? Restore America? How much more American is it than caring for your neighbors? WTF? I am beyond outraged, appalled and embarrassed for the way in which my country is turning. Since when is cruelty and hate restoring America?
Okay, I just decided that I am implementing a new fee for morons to be able to speak in order to be protected by our police and the constitution. If they don’t pay me to speak (are you listening Glenn Beck), they will not be protected by the constitution as far as free speech is concerned (i.e. treasonous to say something negative about our president – as the past president mandated during his presidency). So, when morons speak and haven’t paid their fees (or have forgotten or couldn’t afford them), looks like they will be imprisoned indefinitely or perhaps they could even be shot. Oh well, I guess that would just be the price they would have to pay to learn a lesson!!!! Silly tea partiers, decency is not for sale!
I can’t believe people are actually defending the fire department. WTF. Soooo what if he didn’t pay the $75 fee? Why are people caught up in the legalese? Like you said they could have charged it afterwards, hello its just common decency to help out someone in case oh I don’t know THEIR HOUSE IS BURNING!
People who are defending the fire department have no soul. I’m not even religious, I’m an atheist, and man I can’t believe how people are defending the fire department. WTF. Would you people still be supporting the fire department if there were people inside and not pets? Damn, I really can’t believe they let pets burn, poor animals. :-/
What happened to property tax contributing to the revenue of the fire department? I don’t have to pay a fee for fire service… it’s all taken care of by our property tax. I understand that it the responsibility of the homeowner to pay taxes that they are required to pay, but I think it is awful for the fire department to check a list that approves the house for service. That goes against the morals of any firefighter. You join the fire department to put out fires and save lives. My dad is a 25 year retired firefighter and I know he would never have done that.
It was inhumane to allow this to happen, but this is America. It usually presents a serious risk to others to deny services in situations such as this, as well as to deny health care to those who don’t provide enough profit to the system – the rest of us live among those who don’t get the care they need, and the rest of us can catch untreated and contagious illnesses from them. Some illnesses are easy to successfully treat, but medical care is never reasonably priced and the dollar amount is usually not disclosed before the fact. But the thing I wonder about with these comments is that many seem to think the man should have received services in exchange for being billed. Being billed means nothing. You don’t have to pay bills, but providing service in exchange for being billed in this case perpetuates and forces acknowledgement and acceptance of the basic problem – and that is that in capitalism, morals, humanity and uncommon decency come second. Your money or your life, or the lives of your precious animals/family members.
When the city votes down the firefighters being paid with collected taxes – what are they supposed to do?
Yes, they could have saved this house. And maybe they saved others (although I didn’t see that as an actual fact anywhere in the articles I read). But they can’t do this forever.
I agree with the person above who said that this is a Tea-Party mentality. People don’t want the government to have control of anything, they don’t want to have to pay taxes for any services, they want people to all be 100% capitalists (which the fire department is not), but yet they also still want everything to be perfect and all the schools, fire departments, parks, and police forces to be perfect and fully operational.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Or in other words, you can’t have your fire department and not pay the cost to run them.
Does anyone have a link to a story that doesn’t only have quotes from the guy and also has some facts about how the funding of the fire department in this city works? For all we know the city could have been the ones who voted to refuse service to people who didn’t pay.
What was crazy was that the homeowners were willing to pay the $75 fee right then and there, but officials didn’t take it. Human ethics are totally out the window in this scenario…
Over the last year, as the health care reform debate played out across the country, my husband and I have been thoroughly disgusted with the libertarian idea that health care should be relegated strictly to the free market, and that people should have the option to buy health insurance or not, with no mandates requiring them to do so. This story is a perfect example of why that is such a ridiculous viewpoint. What if ambulances didn’t respond to calls of people who didn’t have health insurance (or hadn’t paid a fee for such services)? What if emergency rooms could just turn away people who hadn’t paid their “free market” fees for care? I agree that it’s sad that this family lost their home and especially their pets, but hopefully this story will make people realize that some services SHOULD be socialized. Things like police, ambulance, health care, fire protection etc. should be available to everyone, regardless of their economic status or how responsible they have been with their money and bills. That’s what tax dollars are for, and yes, we should almost always vote yes on tax increases. Otherwise, situations like this family’s house burning down are likely to get more common.
Exactly. This is a community that decided it was going to do turn the fire department into a ‘pay for service’ company and now they are mad that the company didn’t do the service for free.
If they would have left it as part of the property taxes, like most communities do, then this guy (or anyone else) wouldn’t have had the option of not paying and his house would have been saved. This is the system that this particular community voted into practice for the people outside of the city limits. I’m sure it was done at some point because someone said, “Well, they decided to live outside of the city! I shouldn’t have to pay for them!”
What if they did save this guys house, and then later some other guys barn burned down and they didn’t go to that one because he hadn’t paid the fee either? Then does that guy get to sue them? You saved that guys house, but not mine? Or when the budget came up the next year and they have to raise the fee and people are pissed – what do people say to them then? I hate to say it, but most likely they will say, “It’s not our fault that you decided to help that guy who didn’t pay, and the 10 people after him! We won’t pay it!”
People just want to picture these evil firefighters twisting their mustaches laughing while this guys house burns down – but the voters backed them into a corner and now they don’t like how their votes turned out.
I’m appalled that while a house was burning, they took the time to check if he had paid his annual fee or not!
I personally thought the abundance of taxes we already pay should have covered this. With that said, even with these crazy special circumstances, I say put the damn fire out, then worry about the details.
I blame not the firefighters but the a’hole who made this rule in the first place. If someone is injured and goes to the hospital, they are seen regardless of whether or not they have health insurance. Same should apply here.
Wow, this is great discussion!!! I freakin’ love blogging man, so many different viewpoints and passions flying – with no censorship whatsoever! ;)
@Rachel211 – I do see your views on things much more clearer now, which def. makes this even harder to be so black & white :) Really appreciate you and the rest of the gang here speaking up and sharing what’s on your mind!
But of course I’m still sticking to the fact that we’re all humans and we have to act like them in special situations like this. I’ve got nothing but love for firefighters in general (I certainly don’t think these guys are evil or anything), but in the end it comes down to a personal decision on whether to act on something or not.
These firefighters were told not to put out the fire because of the fees and rules the community voted on and etc etc. Yup, got it – Fair enough. They all listened and became good employees. Does that make it RIGHT though? I’ve had bosses tell me to do some pretty shady $hit in my lifetime and I’ve gone and done the opposite plenty of times. Doesn’t make me an angel (took me years to realize what an idiot I was myself during other times) BUT there are times in your life, and in work, when you have to make some pretty tough decisions for yourself if you think something’s wrong with the picture.
Obviously we don’t know if all these firefighters agreed with the decisions or not, or if any tried rebelling and wanting to actually put it out (maybe we’ll see more come out later?) BUT I think when it comes down to it the question becomes more of an internal “what’s the decent thing to do here” over “what are my orders.” We all have the ability to make decisions for ourselves, and it just saddens me that the decisions here were to look the other way.
I completely agree with you J. This is just ridiculous and infuriating.
No prob – always love a good discussion where both sides of the story are presented.
Although I also think that this guy and his family who’s house burned down, didn’t have the best reaction to the situation by coming to town and punching that guy in the face either. Adding assault to the situation isn’t exactly going to win you brownie points when you are trying to show that you are in the right. (Even if he was really pissed about his house burning down!) ;) lol
That’s extremely disturbing. I’m a huge animal lover, so of course I’m hurt about the poor animals, but what IF there was a person in there? Just the thought of it scares me. How…rude!
Some of you are missing the point that these firefighters had no obligation to protect this individual’s house in the first place. This fire department was funded by property taxes FROM ANOTHER AREA. The fact that they even offered their services for a fee to people outside of the city was a generosity on their part.
“I personally thought the abundance of taxes we already pay should have covered this.” Yeah, the taxes paid by the residents of the city of South Fulton. THIS guy’s taxes did not pay for this fire department.
“Areas like this are experimenting with cutting taxes and cutting spending.” No, the county residents outside the city worked out a solution to get fire protection but this guy didn’t go along with it. There’s no indication that “cutting taxes” was any issue.
“These firefighters were told not to put out the fire because of the fees and rules the community voted on…” No, the firefighters were told not to put out the fire because they had no legal or financial obligation to do so. Basically, this guy was not a paying customer.
How many of you like seeing your neighbor getting a service free, when you are the one paying the bills?
@Ed – While you are technically correct, I still believe there is a compassion element that shouldn’t be overlooked. Someone’s livelihood was at stake and although the idiot didn’t insure he was protected, putting the fire out should have been priority number one, while figuring out how to deal with a non paying resident being discussed after the fact.
The services were offered to that location by that fire department so they should of put out the damn fire. They could have charged the man for the entire cost after the fact, just like how the state and local government can garnish wages if you owe them taxes does.
The guy was stupid but the whole reason a firefighter gets in the business in the first place is to save lives from dangerous and costly destruction. A damaged home is bad enough but now we have someone who is potentially homeless over technicalities.
If my neighbors house was burning to the ground, I would call the fire department even if that person was a mean arrogant a$$hole. My point is that we should do all we can to help out our friends and neighbors, regardless. Not putting out the fire was a decision NOT to do all they could, even if that decision came from their bosses.
This is absolutely disgusting. That a fire department would stand by and not do anything because the guy owed $75 is unconscionable.That fire department is a disgrace to good fire fighters everywhere.I have seen good samaritans run into burning homes and pull people out .What if someone inside was sick or disabled . Does this also apply to the police in this town what happens if someone is getting raped or robbed and they didn’t pay the police tax ? God have mercy on us all
This was a horrible example of why emergency services should never be fee based. Collect the operating expenses in taxes, not a fee. People sometimes do honestly forget things, or pay a bill late. Hopefully these deaths, and this fire will teach a lesson to the county governments thinking of imposing such ridiculous rules.
This commenter at slashdot made my point pretty well.
Now, normally I’m a BIG believer in individual responsibility, and actions having consequences. It’s the way the world works. This guy SHOULD have paid the fee.
That said, there’s also a time where decency prevails. Strictly following this rule, over $75 (when the guy apparently wanted to pay right there), is taking things too far and is a clear case of protocol trumping humane behavior.
They should have put out the fire. The actions to let that house burn were terrible.
Now, that I saw the link to the news … so the guy paid YEARLY that darn fee and forgot this year. Maybe he forgot, god knows I usually forget to pay things just because there’s too much junk to be paid. And 75 bucks for an American is a lousy sum, let’s face it. I spent more on shopping at Macys in 10 minutes than this fee.
In this case we have PENALTIES. Yes, I pay 1%/day late fee if I forget to pay for my car. Or something similar if I pay my taxes later. Or a fine. If we don’t have a health insurance solved we can pay A LOT at the hospital to cover ALL THE YEARS the health insurance wasn’t paid. This is how you make people pay. You make them PAY A LOT if they don’t want to follow the rules.
In this case it was more sensible to make him pay the fee and THE EXPENSES for getting those people there. Don’t know. Make him pay 500. make him pay 1000 bucks. It’s not something an American cannot pay, last time I was in the US the wages were a bit bigger than 1000/month :D
But it stings so much, they’ll never forget again. And it will teach a lesson. Not that people will come see your house burn and look, but that, if you’re not consistent with payments, we’re gonna charge you so much, that it would cover more than 10 years of normal fee.
I can see the other side.
What I don’t know from here is whether it was an oversight, or did this guy ignore the bills.
If I don’t pay my life insurance and it lapses, they aren’t going pay my family. They send me a notice, however.
Firefighters risk their lives. I have a tough time expecting them to do that when it’s for someone who didn’t pay for their service. You don’t let a person die, but risk my life to save your pet? Think about that.
This actually happened to me years ago when I moved onto a farm in rural Missouri. My stepson set our field ablaze with some fireworks. The head of the volunteer fire department said that I could join the group and pay an annual $100 fee or pay the actual cost which they had incurred extingishing the fire (which would have been about $1500). I paid $100 and made sure that I kept it paid!
I don’t like how much detail the original article leaves out. To me, an “out of control” fire is one where the building is in flames and there is serious risk to life and limb going inside. If the fire is that bad, I don’t think anyone would fault the fire department for not going inside to rescue pets. Secondly, what if a firefighter gets hurt fighting this blaze? Would they get workman’s comp or bills paid and whatnot? The county might very well say that they shouldn’t have been in the building and not pay. The person whose house burned down might not have the means to pay. Their personal insurance might not pay because it was an on-the-job accident (things like the last happen, yes? That point I’m a little fuzzy on.) I think that the most anyone would have been able to do with an out-of-control blaze is put water on it from the outside, anyway.
And if the fire department let it burn to the ground, how did the fire go out? How long did it take?
There may be an article missing that explains all this, but from the linked one, I don’t see it.
Quite frankly, if the fire was as bad as I think it may have been, the fire department wouldn’t have been able to save anything, anyway.
J, I couldn’t agree more and I 100% support your rant. This is pretty awful. It would be awful even if the guy didn’t pay $1000, but it’s especially bad that it was over a measly $75. It’s the world we live in when money becomes more important than someone’s home, or the lives of their pets. Crazy and thanks for bringing my attention!
It amazes me how so many of your readers are justifying burning down a house $70k+ over $75.00. It doesn’t even compare. Let that be their mother or a love one’s house and watch their tune change. The man offered to pay on the spot. The neighbor even tried to pay for it but they would not accept it. The man said he paid his taxes every year that he thought was distributed to the fire department anyway. I could not sit by and watch someone’s house and love one’s burn to death but, that’s just mean. Some people are alright with being cold hearted but, I feel ya. I wouldn’t want that Karma following me home.
That’s actually a good point you bring up…
If anyone is getting this message right now, and you argued on the side for letting the house burn down, would you change your feelings if it were your mom’s house? Or best friend’s? You can be honest here ;)
@TJ – I like that system soooooo much more. Good for you on keeping that bill paid up to date too! Crazy you experienced similar fires… except yours had a happier ending ;)
Re: It being my mother’s home, I’d be bitching her out for not remembering to pay the fee.
I’m just tired of people putting all the blame on the fire department. How about some personal responsibility?
To add to that last point, I watched an interview with this gentleman on CNN, and if I heard correctly, the mayor said that he REFUSED TO PAY the fee. The guy is saying that’s a lie, blah, blah, but who are we to believe? And if he refused to pay the fee, I believe that this was 100% his fault.
If it were my mom’s house, I’d be sad, but I’m not going to chew anyone out because my mom decided she wasn’t going to pay. If it was an honest mistake, and I was sure she was of sound mind, then I would be very sad. If she’s okay that’s all that matters. Nothing’s worth more than her.
I WOULD HAVE FOCKED THEM FIREFIGHTERS UP!!!!!!!!
I didn’t read all the comments, but I do wonder how if the Fire Dept fought the fire would have saved the animals? If you had time to call the fire dept and you say they had time to show up, save the animals, and fight a fire then I am thinking that you had the chance to save them before they even showed up. That is just me.
Everyone has a their own love of pets, but while I love my cats to death, I don’t think a fireman would run into a life/death fire to save a cat. There are some the will go with the heroics but they also have to think about their own families too.
Can you imagine if this was a Black Mans’ House that Burnt in Tennessee?
Imagine if this was a Mexican Mans’ House that Burnt in Tennessee?
What if this was a Semitic Mans’ House that Burnt in Tennessee?
…just a poor old White man (probably a Vet, too)….No help from Jesse, NAACP, ACLU, bama
Can you believe that MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used this tragedy to defame the Tea Party?
Where is the common decency? Who would ever visit Tennessee anyway? They are probably just pissed off that their sports teams suck too! Remind me never to drive through Tennessee so I don’t have to give them any of my tax dollars on their gas, food, lodging or whatever. Sick, contemptuous bastards!
I’m just saying, if they agreed and put out the fire and then billed him after and he payed it and everything, then what is to stop everyone else that lives in the area to decline to pay the fee thinking they can just pay for it after in the off chance hat there is a fire? Then no one pays, the fire dept. does not receive money to be properly funded and the next time there is a fire it doesn’t get put out because the trucks aren’t updated, or the fireman’s equipment fails and one of them is injured or dies… As for the pets and the home it is all very tragic and very sad, but it’s the home owners fault not the fire departments. If the neighbors felt so strongly then maybe they should have went in there and put it out. We all know if something wen wrong there are defiantly people that would turn around and sue the fire dept. Just like people who get a rib broken while chocking and receiving the Heimlich from a stranger.
It is no different than your car insurance. If you dont pay it, dont expect to get a new car when you total your car in an accident. Don’t expect the fire department to go out and put your house out when you dont pay. It is no ones fault but the home owners.
Are you fucking kidding me. This topic fires me up. If people have the Ball to say firefighters dont have the compassion to do something. Then you get you drunkin, lazy, lowdown, ass off the couch and sign on as a vol. firefighter and do what they do. That stupid ass guy didnt pay that little $75 fire insurance that would have saved his house, and guess what i dont feel bad one bit. He 100% ment to NOT pay it, so therefore it fuckin burnt down.. his falt. Its there for a reason not to say well maybe ill pay it this year or wait the next year, therefore have fun picking the life out of this comment while the the firefighters save peoples lives.
A close friend of mine just went tea-party. He actually said to me, while his wife was nodding in agreement, that the fire and the police departments were not really worth it and didn’t really do anything. He advocated some sort of neighborhood watch and volunteer fire dept sort of setup. I didn’t ask too many questions, because I think the entire premise is moronic. I just said that if you got rid of the police, it would become Gotham city. But this guy doesn’t want to pay taxes and he does not believe in public services because they are socialistic enterprises. This is the Fox News a la Glenn Beck tea-party america. A la carte services complete with red and green zones separating the haves from the have-nots. Public teachers, firefighters, and cops (look at the recent Wisc and Ohio proposed legislation) are government parasites that make too much money on the tax payers dime.
If you move to an area where the residents continually vote down levies/taxes for schools, cops, firefighters, parks, libraries, etc. Don’t act outraged when you lose those services and have to start paying a la carte. Apparently, this community did not support its fire dept out of a general tax fund and required a seperate fee. The guy did not pay. He opted out. End of story.
Try this experiment: Let your car insurance lapse for a few months and go have an accident. Then when you submit the claim, explain to them how you use to pay for the service and meant to this year, but just did not get around to it. I am sure they will understand.
I def. won’t argue about any of the political stuff (not my forte) but all I know is I couldn’t personally stand and let it watch burn to the ground if I had the ability to help. I’d lose my job or piss people off, I’m sure, but I think in some cases you have to put people first outside “business.” Just my thoughts though, we’re all entitled to our own opinions :) And this thread is certainly full of them!
J. Money wrote: ” I couldn’t personally stand and let it watch burn to the ground if I had the ability to help. I’d lose my job or piss people off, I’m sure, but I think in some cases you have to put people first outside “business.”
You are still operating with the assumption that the fire dept. is a public service. Consider that , without a general tax, it is actually a business. Having that house burn down while the fire dept. sat idly by watching – because the guy did not contract for their services – was the best form of advertising they could possible get. And it was free! A great business decision by the fire company.
Welcome to the new America!
The only thing I’m assuming is that we’re all human ;) Whether I work for a fire department, a business, or just have a hose next to me that I own, there’s no way I’m not trying to put out that fire if I have the power to stop it. I just personally think there comes a time when you have to act as a person and not as a rep for your organization. We’re not tied by them, and have to do exactly what they say. We can think for ourselves. If in this case you, personally, don’t believe the fire should be put out, then all is good in the world ;) But if you DO, and you don’t do anything about it, then that’s where I have the problem. And if I were one of those firefighters I’d have to make that call to go against the rules.
The $75 fee is paid to support HAVING a fire department.
Gene Cranick is a selfish A**hole who wasn’t even willing to pay $75 to support having a local fire department.
If nobody in Cranick’s community paid the fee, then there would be no fire department.
Instead, Cranick was one of only a handful of A**hole’s in hist community, and only his house burned down.
That seems fair.
It would have been better for fire service to be mandatory, and paid out of property taxes. You can object to that decision (as I do). But don’t object to somebody who deliberately refused to support having a fire department, and then was literally burned by his selfish decision.
Very heartening to read so many compassionate comments. Amazed to read the fire dept won’t respond unless a levy is paid. In Australia which is largely rural, the fire dept responds ALWAYS. Costs are taken care of by local government. Also, many communities have their own voluntary fire fighters, well trained and well equipped. Because a house fire can spread to surrounding houses, it makes sense that fire levy’s are part of property owners rates and taxes – not optional. Crazy.
Wow, what a read. That’s insane, but good to read the comments and see everyone else support.