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South Fulton, Tennessee's Fire Department makes news after watching another house burn. 'Pay for spray' subscription policy in Obion County brings more heat for firefighters.

South Fulton Mayor David Crocker makes Keith Olbermann's 'Worst Persons'

Previous coverage here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Comments in American City & County on last year's incident from Chief Billy Goldfeder

Read why The Fire Critic believes, once again, that firefighters should just sit and watch while property burns

Yes, it's deja vu all over again in Obion County, Tennessee. The same fire company, the same TV station and the same subscription fire service have all come together to make news more than a year after the pay for spray policy made headlines around the world.

Yesterday's fire was at the home of Vicky Bell who called 911. The South Fulton Fire Department responded but WPSD-TV reports they kept their distance and watched the mobile home burn because a $75 subscription fee had not been paid.

South Fulton provides fire service to its residents but charges a fee for homeowners living in adjacent unincorporated areas of Obion County. Obion County does not have its own fire department and there is no fire tax. Local fire chiefs in the past have lobbied the county to get them out of the middle, so they aren't put in a position to watch someone's property burn. 

In October 2010, WPSD-TV was on the scene with firefighters as Gene Cranick's home burned. The firefighters refused to put water on the home but sprayed a subscribing neighbor's residence nearby. The story was extensively discussed on cable TV by Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck.

Here are excerpts from yesterday's story by WPSD-TV's Jason Hibbs:

The mayor said it comes down to simple business. If they don't collect fire fees, the fire department can't survive and if they make exceptions to the rule, no one will ever pay the fee.

Besides that, he likes the "pay for spray" policy and said it's fair.

"In an emergency, the first thing you think of, 'Call 9-1-1," homeowner Vicky Bell said.

"There's no way to go to every fire and keep up the manpower, the equipment, and just the funding for the fire department," Mayor David Crocker said.

And Crocker said by now, everyone should know about the city's fire policy.

"After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees, this time," Crocker said.

Bell and her boyfriend admitted they were aware but thought this would never happen to them.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • north chief

    "They were aware of the policy but didn't think it would happen to them". Shouldn't that be the end of the story? I don't think I will ever have a fire in my home, but I pay far more than $75 a year in insurance and taxes to have a fire department. It;s hard to believe there is anyone out there who feels sorry for these people.

    • T. Thompson

      north chief, there are people who do feel sorry for the loss this family has. They made a mistake, maybe they just did not have the extra money. There could be a multitude of reasons that go along with the "I did not think it would happen to me" situation. If you think what happened to them is fair and the fire department did no wrong, then you have problems. No true firefighter will just stand by and watch someones property go up in flames and do nothing.
      In my opinion  it does not matter if they are volunteer or paid, these so called firefighters  need to get into some other activity because they sure do not have what it takes to be a fire fighter. Myself, along with many people I know and have worked with would lose our jobs before we let someones home be destroyed, we would do whatever we could to try and save the home, even if it meant being fired.

      • BrianL2

        You would be looking for work then dumb*ss. The FD was not in their own town. This is in the county for which does not have a fire department at all. People move their because it is chaeaper.  The FD charges county residents $75.00 to get protection. You pay they come and put it out. Pretty simple.  Now how are you going to pay your bills when the mayor or the fire chief fires you for breaking the policies? If you put it out, nobody will pay and thus you are providing service for free. I am not talking about volunteer fire service, I am talking about funding trucks, gear equipment, and in their case fuel to just keep the trucks running. They use the change for the soda machine to buy fuel.

    • Firefighter Medic

      AMEN!!!

    • Anonymous

      what a discusting puke u r. your consideration for anybody that is losing their home to fire and have the fire dept watch it burn is just unbelievable. that is the same type of attitude that is getting constitutional rights destroyed everyday, and i am sure you would not mind shooting your fellow americans if the government says to do it reguardless of y, you sound like another one of those pukes that think you are better than others just because you paid up. your a discusting excuse of an american. good day puke.

      • dave statter

        Anonymous,

        Don’t hold back. Please tell us what you really think.

        I let this go because I don’t like to censor, if I can avoid it. But really? There are many aspects of this issue. While, I think I am generally on your side in this issue, what you wrote is a joke and no one here is taking you seriously.

        Statter

    • http://aol.com Retired Fire Officer

      You call yourself a Chief , If you really are you would know the meaning of the Maltese Cross that you wear upon your shoulder. The Cross represents the principles of Charity , loyalty,Gallentry, Generosity to friend and Foe and the Dexterity of Service and Protection of the weak,   This is the end of the story !

  • Scooter

    I could not imagine sitting on a rig and watch a place burn.  I understand money is the issue but something needs worked out between the localities or a department started in their area.  $75 don't sound like much but I bet there are people that have very tight funds and can't pay it. 

    • Firefighter Medic

      $75 per year, divided by 12 months is $6.25/month, or $0.21 per day.  Are you SURE you want to argue that people cant come up with 21 cents per day?  Thats picking 2 pop cans a day.  Thats forgoing 2 large coffees at the local Starbucks per month.  Thats a pack of cigarettes a month, the cost of a cheap shirt……hard to argue that point in my opinion.  The lady in the story said she CHOSE to not pay the fee.  Thats a choice she made and now needs to live with it's consequences.  Im sure in hindsight she wishes she had paid it, but hindsight dont pay bills.

      • dave statter

        What about the family that had the money to pay for batteries in their smoke alarm that wishes they did in hindsight? Because they made a mistake and didn’t do it they didn’t escape in time and it is now up to the firefighters to put themselves in harm’s way to rescue them. They were stupid too. Should the FD not handle those calls.

        This system leaves firefighters making some judgement calls they shouldn’t have to make and in turn it makes them look like somethng other than firefighters to much of the public.

        Statter

      • Mr618

        Maybe it's two cans where you are, but here in Maine, it would be five. And you would be competing with everyone else collecting cans from the side of the road (which are few and far between, thanks to the deposit law). That works out to about 150 cans per month, or 7 cases (assuming a case is still 24 cans; if we're talking the 12-can fridge packs, we're looking at 14 cases).
        Amazing how many "compassionate conservatives" are saying "screw you" to these folks. Maybe when you guys get laid off to balance budgets, you'll have a little more sympathy. Certainly you won't object to being laid off, since government workers are so grossly overpaid and underworked, according to the right-wingers.

        • Anonymous

          amen 618 and i hope it is soon, there are too many of these lazy worthless overpaid people anyway, i hope they get to see what it is like to be poor. i hope the whole lot of them including every person on the comittee who came up with the idea to charge people extra on top of their taxes this extortion money. theives are running the system and sucking us dry. i cant wait til it is their turn

      • Anonymous

        who gives a crap you are all overpaid lazy bastards with a bunch of shiny toys and now you are extorting fees from citizens to put out their fire on top of the taxes they already pay. you are a discusting unsympathertic lot that should all be put out of a job

  • BChief

    By this story even being reported again by Statter, it just adds to the heat the Fire Chief and that Fire Department gets in the future.  To title the story "Pay for Spray" sensationalizes the damn story.   Bottom line is this person chose to live in the county, WHERE THERE IS NO FIRE DEPARTMENT AT ALL, but expects when things happen to them to just call 911 and expect the taxpayers from the neighboring city, to fund the response and mitigation. BS. This is not mutual aid, not automatic aid.  It is a contract between the FD that is willing to respond outside of there jurisdiction requirment and the local homeowner in the county.  If you don't pay, you don't get the services end of story. Everyone knows about the system, this isn't the first time this has happened. Please go into a store and tell them you want food for free, or you want your car fixed for free, or you want your roof replaced without paying the roofer, guess what you get?  NO SERVICE or PRODUCT. Last time we debated this, the fire chief of this town was using the change from their soda machine to keep fuel in the fire trucks. So yes, if you pay you get service. If you don't… well too bad.  Kudos to the FD for holding up the integrity of the lousy system that is in place down there, but they have to work with what they got.
    My suggestion is to end the whole subscription service system and then only protect your taxpayers who fund your budget. Then the county homeowner can watch their house burn all alone.
     

    • dave statter

      BChief,

      My point from the start and still is it is the firefighters in the middle and they are the ones who look bad sitting around watching someone’s property burn.

      As I said before, rather than having as your spokesman a mayor who says he likes this policy, the fire chiefs should be in the face of Obion County saying how much they hate it (and they did do some of that previously).

      Also, I did not come up with the ‘pay for spray’ line. I used it because it was widely used the last time and thought it would be a good reminder of the previous story.
      Thanks.

      Statter

    • http://aol.com Retired Fire Officer

       
      BChief ,  I did a little looking and found some really interesting information about the  fire, companies in Obion County ,Tennessee,  In March 2008 there was a presentation made to the  Obion County Mayor ,three  Commissioner's and  the Fire Chiefs of the municipal fire companies,  " The Obion County Fire Department "   formed by the county govenment in January 1987 , except the resolution was never enacted upon. The Obion County Department is only on paper..  No  fire station ,No appartus ,No Firefighters.
      Information in  Presentation : There are eight municipal fire companpies in the county, Five of the companies do not charge fee's up front for emergency response. into the Rural Community of the county.
      Three of the fire companies that require a fee for Structual Fire Response into the Rural Community of the county. 
      All eight municipal fire companies charge a $500.00  fee per call for structual response into the Rural Community of Obion County.  That is charged to the home owner or their Insurance company.
      As of 2008 there were 186 Firefighters in Obion County , 144 Volunteers and 42  paid.
      The Obion County Rescue Squad  handles the  Brush / Wildland / Vehicle firefighting in designated  area's of Obion County. 
      A number  of municipal fire companies have recieved  Assitance to  Firefighters Grants in Obion County from FEMA.
      It would Appear that South Fulton just forgot the meaning in their mission statement ?
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

  • TommyG

    I pay a hell of a lot more than $75 a year in fire TAXES!  I don't have the choice of not paying, it is part of my yearly taxes.  If I don't pay, I lose my house.  Pretty simple really.
     
    That being said, to agree with Scooter, how does a firefighter sit there & watch a place burn?  Hard to grasp that concept.
    I think with the multiple incidents, it's time to take the choice out of their hands & charge them an automatic tax rate, just like most of the country.

  • BChief

    TommyG – The county powers to be refuse to fund a fire department, or charge their resients a mandatory fire tax for the city fire department to protect. The local homeowner is on their own to decide if the want protection or not. 

  • BrianL2

    They should just drop the whole subscription service and let the county administartors deal with this on their own. The FD should stay in their city and protect just their taxpayers. Eventually the county will tax the residents and start their own department or pay for protection from another nearby fire department. Either way, no more headache for the mayor or the fire chief who keep getting called on the carpet as to why they responded and watched the non-paying county resident's house burn.
     
     

  • Inside the Beltway

    ….and you'd be surprised to find how many of those who can't spare 75 dollars a year some how scratch up enough loose change to buy HDTV's, cigarrettes, booze, etc. I see it everyday!

    • dave statter

      As I just wrote on FB, there are always going to be lots of homeowners who don’t think fire is going to happen to them, no matter what the system. It is just bad to have the fire department in the middle taking the heat. This is not a winning situation for firefighters. Especially if, as South Fulton did last year, they keep quiet and don’t make it clear they hate the system too and would like Obion County to change it. Instead you have a mayor who says he likes the system.

    • Amazed

      Sounds like my neighbor..  house looks like crap.. haven't paid the trash bill in a couple months, but they have a 50" flat screen tv, nice motorcycles, latest video games….  It's all a matter of priorities.  Given the coverage since last year, if I lived in that county & knew what would happen – I would make it a priority to somehow come up with that $75.  This is  a no-win either way.  If they follow policy & don't provide service to those that didn't pay, they look bad for standing by.  If they DID put out the fire without them paying, then those that DID pay would figure why did I bother to pay if they're going to put it out anyway – screw it, I'm not going to pay next year then..    I don't think it's going to happen to me, but I make sure I have insurance to cover my property just in case…

  • BrianL2

    She probably called 911 on her $500 Blackberry with internet service.

  • BrianL2

    Dave S. Fulton is not going to say they hate the system, this is all about business. The FD hopes you buy a subscription and never call them because it is money for their operating budget. $75.00 doesn't cover the fuel they use during a fire.  So they are not going to say it sucks. But if more buy into the system, the more revenue comes in from outside source that is not their taxpayers.
     
     

    • dave statter

      BrianL2,

      Actually last year the other Obion County chiefs did say they dislike the system and presented their proposal for a fire tax. I understand the economics. But I also understand the image issue for firefighters. In addition, trusting that the books are correct about who has paid and who hasn’t is one that could bite firefighters big time. I have seen governments large and small not able to keep track of who has paid their bills.

      Statter

  • Craig Moyer

    Once again POLITICANS have put the fire service in a bad light. After last years debacle you would think it would change. But since the politicans want to get ellected again they will not implement a no tax on citizens no matter how helpful it is.
    What I would do if I was the chief was set a deadlinie the Fire Fee needs to be paid. Then whoever doesn't pay it have them sign a letter stating they have or will not pay the tax and do not expect the fire company to respond. Once its signed or witnessed it alevates the fire company of any liability.
    Something serious needs to be done and since the elected officals won't do it maybe its time for the fire company to start throwing people under the bus and telling the full story.

  • nc fire capt

    Dave dont get on the defense here. I think all of us feel the same way. Obion County is the blame not the fire dept. I just dont understand how 911 keeps sending this dept to a fire at a non subscribers residence. by the way how do the keep up with who has payed and who hasnt.? It would seem to me if the homeowner had insurance they could bill the insurance company for service. Most depts dont realize that is part of most insurance plans. while the fee is usually nominal it would keep crap like this from happening, but then again who would keep up on if the owner had insurance. bottom line if u dont pay u dont have service dont call 911. Poor Planning on your part does not constitue an emergency on our part. Obion County must be stuck in a time warp.
     

    • dave statter

      Not on defense at all chief. I just hate seeing the fire department in the middle. Someday, as you have mentioned, they will have a screwup and not respond to the house of someone who actually paid. Trusting someone’s life or valuables to the person who keeps the books is not a great system.

      Statter

    • Frank

      They probably didn't have insurance either "cuz it isn't gonna happen to me" seems to be the attitude here. If the county residents choose to not complain to their own commisoners about their lack of fire protection and get something changed then it falls on them. I worked in Myrtle Beach in the 80's and the older guys would talk about respondng to unprotected areas of the county and the residents not wanting them to put the fire out  as they wanted insurance to pay for the rebuild.

  • Oh Lord

    Everyone has a choice to live with. The home owner/renters of these jurisdictions that have to pay for the options of service are hard just hard to stomach. Yes, in this case as with others, the persons involved didn’t “pay for their spray” but after so many of these incidents happening I believe it’s time for the local FD’s and the politicians to come up with a better policy. What’s the Police’s policy? Do the citizens in these jurisdictions have to pay for their services as well….probably not? We all know that the coppers & band aid buggies run far more calls than the bravest in any jurisdiction. The local FD’s as always are placed in the middle in these situations but they too have a choice…they can make the decision to try and solve this issues too. Fundraising, lobbing the elected officials to implement a public safety tax incorporated into their sales or property tax and so on. There’s other positive ways to make policies to insure all people are being protected, the excuse of “this is the way we’ve always done it” in this day in age isn’t acceptable. Be safe out there.

    • Firefighter Medic

      Whether you call it a "tax" or a "fee", obviously people dont want to pay it.  The fire department cant run for free.  Do you suppose the gas station wants to supply the diesel for free?  Or the utility company supply the heat and lights for free?  What about the county?  Did they supply the land, building, equipment for free?  The bunker gear…was that free too?  The money has to come from SOMEWHERE. 

      • Anonymous

        big difference between gas station for profit and a tax based sevice designed to help the community. the problem is they are phasing out the volunteers and another high paying beaurocratic job for a slob who only wants to shine the truck and then go and watch the purdy flames, f the guy whos house is burning and God forbid he didnt pay the extortion fee for the year

        • http://aol.com Retired Fire Officer

          Dear Anonymous , I am sorry to tell you that your facts are a bit screwed up.  I retired from a career fire department after thirty two years .  Also serving a little over twenty years as a volunteer.  In fact most places are attempting to retain volunteers and not hire career Firefighters.  The ranks of the volunteers are dimishing because of the United States economy.  People in this country can no longer afford the cost to become a  volunteer , It takes many months of training to become a volunteer and the personal cost  is not free.  Very few people have the spare time to give ,they are too busy working overtime to bring home the bacon.
          The alternative is the hiring of career emergency personel  to fill the dimishing shortage of volunteers. or in many cases go without services  or depend on other places to provide service of  which  a city or county has no control over the quality of the service that  they  recieve,
           
           

  • Kevin Stokes

    In case some of you don't remember from the last time this situation came up, this syetem is in place because a county fire department has been placed on the ballots and DEFEATED multiple times in this county. These people have no one to blame but themselves.

    • dave statter

      I agree with you Kevin the citizen and the leadership of Obion County are ultimately responsible. But it’s the firefighters who look bad having to what firefighters shouldn’t be doing. That’s the dilemma.

  • FP427

    I hope the INs company goes afetr the Fire Dept for the Money spent to rebiuld!!!

    • Firefighter Medic

      So let me get this straight…. you are saying that the home owner blatently did the wrong thing (not paid the pay for spray fee) but should still get money from the fire department to rebuild?!?!!??  Are you KIDDING me? 
      Under what thought process do people benefit from doing the wrong thing?  Do you also advocate that people who are injured breaking into your house should be paid compensation until they can get back to work at a real job?

  • BrianL2

    We are not talking about screwing up the address of who paid or didn't. This is about an officer who is upholding the policies and rules of the department's operation. Being an officer is not easy. Sometimes you are forced to make decisions that are not your personal belief. Regardless by not putting it out they are upholding the integrity of the lousy system.
     
    S. Fulton Firefighters, the Fire Chief or even the Mayor are not in a position to make changes, the county has decided to sit on their hands and not solve THEIR mess.
     
    Like I said before, S. Fulton should tell the county they are done offer services and the homeowners are to protect there own house, or move.  Maybe those lazy administrators will decide to start and fund their own volunteer fire department.

  • JohnnyAwesome

    This is such a sad story. Its sad for the home owner and sad that a FD like this is still around in 2011. SFFD your administration is a disgrace to the fire service.

  • BrianL2

    FP427 – if they didn't pay the $75.00 subscription fee, I bet they have no insurance either. The insurance company would require the subscription especially knowing their is NO LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT.
     
    The FD is not at fault here. The HOMEOWNER clearly is.

    • Anonymous

      yes they are. the fire dept is overbloated with high dollar toys and they want more. we are not talking about a for profit business, this is something that has been around for a few hundred years, it was for the community of whoever lived withing reach of their service. it used to be that you volunteered for this community service because you either wanted to help your community or you were a closet pyro who just couldnt wait to see a burn. point is you are all turning this into something that if u want ur house fire put out u have to pay the extortion fee annually or lose it all. i mean we cant have those 100 plus thousand dollar a year jobs for the higher ups go unpaid. the days of your overpaid beaurocratic jobs and pensions are coming to an end and then you will see the pain of poor, and then i hope you remember how you felt when that poor slebs house was burning while you refused to put out his fire and u were sitting at the end of his lane. what a disgrace.

  • http://www.rtfc21.org Risa

    I wonder how far away this department was from the fire anyway.  A mobile home?  What chance did they have to save anything in the first place?

  • http://www.rtfc21.org Risa

    It probably flashed over long before they even got there so all they could do was protect the exposures!

    • http://aol.com Retired Fire Officer

      To Risa , Yes it is a fact that once flashover occurs , mobile homes do tend to be comsumed  and are destorted within a few minutes. In my fire service career serving as  a Volunteer  I have extinqushed a mobile home fire with a garden hose that was in the second phase of  burning known as the flame stage before the arrival of our first due fire apparatus,
      Generally Flashover occurs after a fire as reached the free burning stage  ( flame stage ) within a few minutes in a mobile home.

  • http://www.report-on-conditions.blogspot.com Joseph Schmoe

    After the last debacle, one would think that the county officials would remove their craniums from their rectums and come up with some form of equitable solution that provides fire protection for their citizens.  As they chose instead to maintain the status quo, and hope that S. Fulton would carry the load for them, the issue again roars to the forefront.
    This should be the main issue at election time, but as the affected residents were quoted as saying that they were aware of the situation but thought that it would never happen to them, it appears that the citizens are happy with the status quo as well.
    Little sympathy from me.
     
     
     

  • Rebel

    @FP427 says, What would the Fire Department use to pay the insurance company? Not the fees they collected from this lady…… Sombodys always wanting something for nothing. Paying for the fire service is like insurance. If you don't get it, you lose your stuff.  You just take that chance like we just saw. Must be a Democrat, "I'll just sit back and let everyone else pay for the Fire Department and then if something happens to me, I'll cry that it's not fair that they didn't help me"

    • Anonymous

      you are sooo wrong, this has always been a service for the community, paid for out of tax dollars, now that you are getting high paid jobs witht the fire dept. and most of theime sitting around on your asses, you need money to fund the high pay and pensions. you have totally forgotten what it was about.

  • Former Chief

    Since I'm not from a rural area, the whole subscription fire service thing is very foreign to me.  In my opinion, if you're going to respond to a fire, then you have to fight it, period.  If the person who's property you respond to has not paid their subscription fee, then you bill them for ALL costs associated with fighting the fire, not just the fee.  If they don't pay, you pursue it in court, include the court costs, and they eventually pay or they are held in contempt and the Sheriff and Courts take appropriate action.  The Firefighters in this area really need to address this issue, jointly, include the media, and come to a resolution.  If the FD's in this area are comfortable with the arrangement and policy, then they need to say that and be prepared to take the scrutiny and justify their position.

    • Firefighter Medic

      Sending a bill worked so well when it was the "pay for spray" bill, didnt it?  You really think they didnt pay a $75 bill but will pay a bill in the $1,000's?  I think you are severely mistaken!
      If everyone waited for a fire (because it will never happen to me) to get a bill they are never going to pay, there wont be money for fuel to GET to the fire. 
      If no life was in danger, its just STUFF that can be replaced.  People need to quit wanting things for free.  Thats why the country is so messed up, nobody wants to pay their share but wants everything given to them.

      • Former Chief

        Firefighter Medic,  If you're OK with letting someone's home burn who didn't pay their subscription fee, that's fine, I respect your point of view, but, I'm not OK with that.  I think it puts those FD's in an unenviable position and the fire service in general in a bad light.  If the FD's affected by subscription fees are in favor of that policy, so be it.  They need to justify their policies and the scrutiny that follows when something like this occurs.  I was only proposing an alternative to the current situation.  I think the FD's in this particular area need to jointly evaluate this system and if they agree with it, then they can come out and say that and explain why.  This should also be a lesson for all FD's who are subscription services to re'evaluate their policies.  As far as people not paying their fair share, I think fire protection is one of those basic governmental functions that should be financed by the local jurisdiction.  Looking online at South Fulton's apparatus doesn't make it appear that fire protection is a very high priority for the city.  Just my opinion.

      • Anonymous

        yea kinda reminds me of those high paying beaurocratic jobs with fat pensions. please read history of the fire dept. it still should be a volunteer deal, and you guys have got to stop trying to buy every new toy that comes out just because you thing the government can afford it , and if they cant buy it anyway.

        • Former Chief

          Anonymous, I'm not really sure what you're trying to say with your post.  I don't know what public jobs and pensions have to do with this issue.  I did look at the South Fulton website.  It does appear that they are volunteer although, the way the Fire Chief is described, I'm wondering if he is paid or partially paid.  Not very clear the way they word it.  As far as my apparatus observation, I think it would be nice if they had at least one vehicle that is less than 20 years old in their firehouse.  I realize they probably function on a very tight budget and I don't advocate buying every toy.  We all should live within our budgets.  Just my opinion.

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    FP427 your just ignorant, Brian l2 your absolutely right, Dave Statter the firefighters look bad for doing there job? WHAT THEY WERE TOLD TO DO?!?!!? ……………PEOPLE This policy has been in affect for well over a year, has been in headlines and is a well known fact that everyone in the neighboring county will have to pay $75 dollars for fire protection. The HOMEOWNERS KNEW ABOUT THE POLICY BUT CHOSE NOT TO PAY BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE THINK IT WOULD HAPPEN TO THEM!!! Thats there own fault!!!! These firefighters were justified and did the right think, I don't care what kind of ethics you want to throw at them. If you don't pay your car insurance and get into an accident, the insurance company should just pay out of the kindness of there heart cause thats there job? F*** that!!! Look at the facts and stop being ignorant some of you!!! The firefighters did there job and did what they were told to do, the homeowners didn't and now have to pay alot more then $75 dollars!!!

    • dave statter

      Whether you like it or not Craig the firefighters do look bad because of this. And it is not a good image for the fire service. But that doesn’t mean they are to blame for this system being in place. Two different things.

      Statter

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    The Fire Department looks bad to ignorant people. People that either don't read the whole article or just suck up anything they can for free or ignore there bills because the CHOOSE to. Did they have cable to there house? Was there a car in the driveway? Do they Smoke? Do they both have cell phones? they could have paid the $75 dollars!! Or i'm sure if they called up the County and arranged a payment plan throughout the year they could have arranged something!! As long as it ends up paid!!! They get protection…end of story Anyone that chooses to blame the fire department or thinks the fire fighters are a disgrace is just ignorant!

    • dave statter

      No Craig, it looks bad to intelligent people too, many of them firefighters. You are correct in a lot of ways but wrong about this image thing. It is very important to have the trust of the people you serve. If you don’t think so, then maybe you shouldn’t toss the ignorant label out there so easily.

      It is wrong for firefighters to be put in the position of watching someone’s property burn. People make mistakes and are stupid. That’s one of the reasons there is a fire department. Again, I ask you, how many govenment organizations do you trust to get this billing thing right 100 percent of the time?

      I am not arguing the facts. Many of them you have are correct. Your conclusion is another story.

      Statter

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    They should be thankful there only paying$75 dollars a year!!! You want to add fire tax to a community like that, its going to be alot more then $75 i can guarantee it, hense its been voted down so many times already!!!!

  • FF/PM Greg

    Check out the comments on the news link.
    Anyone with Facebook able to comment, because the FD needs a little support (and perhaps a logical comment or two).  The anger directed towards the FD by posters is a little upsetting.
     

  • Firefighter Medic

    Its a sad matter when people take a course of action (like knowingly not paying the "pay for spray" fee) then still expect service.  When are people going to take responsibility for themselves?  If I dont pay for a ticket to a concert I cant then expect the venue to let me in, can I?  If I dont pay for my groceries can I expect the grocery store to let me take them home? 
    If there was a life at risk in that trailer you know they would have went in.  But to watch unprotected property go up in flame…. I dont have any sympathy, I really dont.  You have to know the risk when you decide not to pay for a service.  If you decide that the risk is worth the benefit (of keeping your $75) you shouldnt complain when you are wrong. You should just say "Well, I was wrong.  Lets start rebuilding."  Who is to blame?  Very simply, the homeowner.  Nobody else.

    • Anonymous

      no you are obviously unsympethetic there firefighter medic, and you obviously dont know crap about what it is to be a person who becomes a firefighter so to help others. you are obviously there for the high pay and relatively ease of the job, you and i both know you sit around most of the time. wait, the time near, when your job and pension dry up because of the ever increasing demand for higher pay by the bloated beaurocracy cant be paid by the tax payer you will wish you werent so unsympathetic, your day of knowing the pain of poor is coming.

  • Anonymous

    This is without any doubt the mostdisgraceful and shameful act of alldged Public Safety I have ever heard. OK, for whatever reason the residents didnot pay $75.00 for annual Fire Protection.Who among us can say with any degree of certainty why,whynot, the people didnot pay? I am particularly disgusted with comments from North Chief, and the comments about the people may have Dialed 911 on their expensive Blackberry. You Individuals and your comments are an absolute shameful and disgusting Redneck Mentality. OK, just suppose the people may or maynot have had $75.00 to pay. What would the Local Political Powers say if in fact the call came in and the Report of a raging/working Fire with People Entrapment was given? The Politics and the emphasis on Money $75.00 seems to be the Priority. How would the Fire Dept and/or the Political Morons respond to Public Outcry if a Human Being lost their Life, because the Fire Dept Failed Miserably to carryout the Basic Core values of what the Fire and EMS Service is in place to provide? "$75.00  cost vs. the Loss of Life" What would the Fire Chief and the incompetence of a bunch of know nothing wannabes say if someone in the family of the structure had a Heart Attck from the Stree right there on the scene. One can only imagine how unprofessional that visual would have been while the Fire Chief and his merry group of misfits watched doing nothing? "$75.00 for the saving of Life and Property?  You individuals make me sick. Don't ever use the Fire Chief insignia with your name, you are a Puppet with Political Strings.
    Thank You
     
     

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    FF/PM is that the one i'm argueing on there to???? otherwise post the link i will be more then happy to say a thing or two

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    I'm glad you posted annonymous you ignorant ass….READ THE POLICY!!! IF LIFE IS AT RISK THEY WILL RESPOND ACCORDINGLY!!!! STOP TALKING YOU PUSS IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOUR TALKING ABOUT AND CAN'T EVEN LEAVE YOUR NAME!!!!

  • cdoc29

    Maybe a simple solution of $75 yearly fee or 'If we show up and you ask us to put out your house fire and you havn't paid it"s $5000.' The fire still gets put out and then we can read articles on how this fire department is ruining peoples credit instead of letting thier house burn.

  • BrianL2

    @ Anonymous
    Are you the village idiot?  This is not the local fire department. This is an area WITH NO FIRE DEPARTMENT because the locals voted it that way. Now you have another town or city fire department that OFFERS their service for a $75.00 fee. You pay the fee they will respond outside of their community / jurisdiction, to protect your property. This is not mutual aid, this is not automatic aid, this is a BUSINESS.  You can only give away free service so long before the funds dry up. This is not about core values, or ethics, this is about people, the resident, the other residents and the county administrators who have repeatitively voted to contiue to NOT fund a local fire department.
     
    I bet your core values work well at McDonalds when your hungry and your wallet is empty. Get a job, pay your bills, and EXPECT service. Nothing is for free dumbass.
     

    • Anonymous

      you are wrong it is about core values and ehtics. you responded to the fire, why. to sit and watch it burn because they didnt pay 75 dollars, u r an idiot!!!! why did they even respond, to make an example. what a poor area of service to show poeple who is boss. you may as well of responded to a 6 car crash with fatalities and say oh you didnt pay ur taxes, we cant evak you. idiot

  • Assistatntchief

    There is a way the county can take care of the NO PAY problems, it's called COURT.
    This crap does look very bad on the guys having to sit on the rig, does the mayor come out and sit with them, does he come and explain to the owner why the crew isn't working? no hes probley at home watching TV and eating dinner. How can you as a ff/fo even sit there and watch somones home burn down. reguardless your job/volunteer stattus if your really there to protect the people living in you county or  passing through you would help. i'd like to see a chief or mayor try to tell me and my crew to sit and not do anything, that would be the next bad situation on statter. Reguardless of who paid what, all county commissions are responisible for fire protection to anyone living within their county and needs to provide that protection no matter what. You don't sit there and watch,  you go to work and do your job the safest you can and go home. The crew really takes the hit for this since they are there watching it burn, in some ways I do blame them, how can you do that? These people have lost everthing and you get to go home and sleep in your bed and change into clean cloths and such. 2000 homes x $75.00= $150,000.00 report says most of the homes have paid there bills and they won't spare the home that didn't. So if they will not fight the fire because of non payment, then why are they even responding to these address's wasting fuel, causing maintance, and responding hot, risking lives to sit and watch a place burn.
    How do you sleep at night knowing you sat and watched the home of a child burn to the ground knowing they called you because your the fireman that taught her to call 911?
    Your the fireman that came to her school yesterday and taught her to stop,drop and roll, and taught her how to escape then she looks up and sees you sitting on the on big red fire engine you showed her as you see her crying because her house, her pet kitten and everything shes ever known is burning to ash. This is the same littlie girl that goes to school with your child, your child comes home and asks, daddy my friends house burned yesterday and they lost everything can i give her some cloths?
    Daddy why didnt the fireman save her house and her mommy and daddys things?
    Have fun wtih answering that mister.
    What knid of fireman are you? Heres how you should answer-
    I'm not a volunteer or paid fireman, I'm a BARTER FIREMAN if you pay your fee that helps buy oil for the engine then I'll put out the next fire at your house. If you don't pay then I sit and watch because the mayor says so because you didn't pay your fee.

    • Anonymous

      wonderfully said. this is a sad story for everyone except for the greedy politician who created this problem, what a surprize

  • Anonymous

    Its a sad story, but….
    If there isn't a fire dept within 5 miles they probably can't get insurance or thats the way it is in Ohio.
    It would take less than a half mil fire levy to make that kind of money and everyone would have protection. So in my opinion its the county officials and the publics problem. If the public officials won't put the levy on then the people should flood the next meeting and the next meeting untill they do.

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    Assistant Cheif, did you read the article? South Fulton provides service for the unincorperated obian county, UNINCORPERATED AS IN NOT PART OF THERE COUNTY, COMMUNITY, OR FIRE DISTRICT!!!! THEY DO IT AS A FAVOR AND CHARGE A SMALL FEE OF $75!!

  • http://CraigTurczyn Craig Turczyn

    CHIEF*

  • RDS

    We tried twice at a cost of about 20,000.00 to form a district here with a small department of about 25 firefighters and 3 stations. I believe we cover about 800 or more square miles. Residents of the town (2500) pay for their protection through the city taxes. We also have a  Rural Fire Association that charges 48.00 per year for each piece of property to those that live out of the city limits. Twice the district was voted down witch would have had everyone paying the same rate. This is a non-paid department. We have to pay for our uniforms (Class A's with no coat or hat). Still there are a lot of people that will not pay the 48.00. We will answer every call the same, but if you you have not paid your fee you will be charged a minimum of 500.00 per call with more added for each hour we are there. We still have problems collecting and had to turn several over to a collection agency. Those of you in these big paid departments just really have no idea.

  • Fire21

    My community used to have a city dept and a county dept.  County coverage was lousy…structure protection with a 2-ton brush truck.  After a county home, right on the edge of town burned (city trucks couldn't cross the line), the governing fathers got together and formed a joint-powers systyem.  Since 1975 our apparatus and personnel go anywhere in our 5000 square mile county to handle emergencies.  We are funded by both the city council and the county commissioners through a mill levy in the tax system.  Everyone pays for everyone.  It's fair, it's overall, and it's effective.  The only difference is for those who choose to live farther from the fire stations, the response time is longer…that's the individual's choice.  

  • FireMedicGa

    T. Thompson
    I understand your opinion however it’s opinions like this one that has lead us to the breaking point of public safety. Government has one primary job and that is to protect it’s people. When the people however choose, as in this case, to contract private services out, this is what happens. You need to understand that services are not free. Back in the day it was neighbors helping neighbors and people cared enough about each other to risk life and limb for that nighbor. You know just like I do that it’s not that way anymore. You see people use to give back. Someone would leave a small rural town become successful and give back whether it would be funds and or donate a fire engine. You also dont see that to much anymore. Im sure if you live in this town you did nothing to protest not paying more taxes for the fire department. You were probably like this family thinking it wont happen to me. So think first before youmake critical comments about these firemen. They have familys to feed and just like anyone else do what they are told to do so that they can continue to provide for there family. You have no clue or understanding what it took for these men and women to have to be discipline enough to follow orders and stand by watching as someone lost everything. I would reccomend someone for you to vent your anger towards firefighters just doing there job but i currently do not have a list of free counselors and i bet you would expect that service for free to.

  • Anonymous

    This is not an image problem for the fire service, nor those firefighters. This is an image problem for the uneducated and the uninformed. Mr. Statter you sir need to take a step back and realize you believe its an image problem for that fire department because that has been your job to report, and some would say create, those image problems.
    Fact of the matter is you sir have reported from this region of a highly evolved political system and therefore an evoled public safety system where service is provided based on taxes that are a requirement.
    Those who have posted on here about these people not being firefighters need to get your head out of your sphincter. These are not paid personnel, they volunteer because no one else will, there families have probably done it for decades, whether organized or not.
    Fact is, that they are a product of the times. In previous times the members were supported by themselves, they maintained the apparatus, they paid for the fuel etc etc. So how would you people who call yourselves the end all be all of firefighting put that fire out with no fire truck because you did not fuel it? How would you fight it without the gear and SCBA you didnt purchase?
    The image problem here should be that the government, from federal on down through the local government has failed to understand that public safety is a primary concern and not something be cut and slashed or just plain not funded. A pennies on the dollar tax could very easily rectify this situation. But they have left it has a referendum and it has been shot down, meaning the constitutional based government of the people, by the people, for the people have decided that this house should have burned down because they chose to move into an area without regard for the legal issues regarding fire protection.
    Fact is this department responded to provide the service they have been contracted to provide to the neighboring homes. Thats the end. They didnt respond as firefighters, they responded as contractors, and for most of you, that is a foreign term because you choose to live in the romanticized vision of the fire service which due to capitilism and government choices no longer exists in many locales in this county.
    Mr. Statter you sir have returned to your roots and have made this an image issue that is needs not be. If you reported the facts regarding the entire situation and not just the fire department situation you would see that. But I understand you will stand behind the stance that this is a fire service related blog, and thats all you reported. But at that point, you have reported a misguided story because you should have reported on the lack of fire protection that caused a home to burn down, not the neighbors fire protection contractor who showed up next door.
    As for those who fail to see the true issues, here, take a vacation day along with your 48 or 72 hour breaks between shifts and travel to areas that can be reached with a 3 or 4 hour drive from Washington Monument and take a look at how over 80% of our country provides fire protection. Through what amounts to public safety contracting.

    • dave statter

      Mr. Anonymous or is it Ms. or Mrs.,

      I appreciate your thoughts. Now tell me which facts I didn’t present. I have said all along that technically, and I assume legally, the fire department did right. But as long as they show up and watch someone’s property burn without helping, this department, and any other that does it, will not look good in the eyes of much of the public. In addition is not something that is good for the image of the fire service in general.

      In addition, I criticized South Fulton on the incident last year for trying (and failing) to chase the news crew away instead of telling their story. Their story was that the municipal fire chiefs in the county had been working to try and change the system. It wouldn’t have solved their problem completely, but it would have helped put the focus where it belongs, on the citizens and leaders of Obion County.

      Also, the idea of putting out the fire and charging the family who hasn’t subscribed is a much, much smarter one. Yes, I know there is a good chance they won’t pay. But the amount you are losing in goodwill by not attempting to put out the fire is a much more valuable commodity. It is also a fair system to those who do pay. In addition it covers you in case there is an error in the bookkeeping. No one has answered my question when I ask which government agency, be it local, state or federal, do you trust to be right 100 percent of the time about who did and didn’t pay their bills. That right there is a recipe for disaster.

      I have no horse in this race other than to step back and try to analyze what it all means from an image and political standpoint. I talk about this because I think it is an important lesson for all firefighters. The trust of the people you servce is vital to what you do.

      Now, what is it about my roots you have a problem with and what that has to do with anything? I am just a litle Jewish kid from Baltimore. You have a problem with that?

      Statter

      • Former Chief

        Dave,  we have found the root of the problem, apparently, it is you.  You have caused this mess.  Gee, I feel much better now knowing who to blame.  "Little" Jewish kid?!  Wait until Rhett reads that one.  Tally Ho.  Carry on.  Keep up the good work.    Former Chief

    • CHAOS

      Maybe I missed something in the rambling rant…are you saying that "over 80% of our country provides fire protection" through a subscription program??  I'd like to see the data to support that claim.

  • Mr618

    The most amusing part of this is that Statter and the others who think the FD should come out against "pay for spray" are using correct grammar and proper spelling, while the ones who fault the homeowners are spraying spittle all over, sound like a bunch of in-bred hillbilly rednecks, and spell like they're on "I Can Has Cheezburger."

  • Pingback: South Fulton Woman Loses Home to Fire Because She Didn’t Pay Fire Tax. Dave Statter Stays Quiet This Time. | The Fire Critic

  • Legeros

    Never show if you don't flow.

    • dave statter

      You are really hung up on this flow thing these days. Prostate problems Mike?

      • Legeros

        Flow is good.
         
        A wise captain once told me that the public always expects the fire department to do something. Even if it's just a token handline that isn't really making a difference. 
         
        If you go, start the show.

  • clay

    After reading all the comments I have to agree with Dave
      Show up to a fire, put it out.  As firefighters this is what you do, it's not fair to the ones who do pay but life isn't fair.  The most important issue here is there should be the chief or some fire officer on scene that meets with the media with the burning house in the background (firefighters putting water on it) and explaining that the homeowner will get a bill for the higher then $75.00 subscription for their response because the government/county residents continue to veto a fire tax.  Push the blame back on the ones responsible.
      What does this dept. do if they get called to a mva?  Don't assist if they haven't been paid?
     
     

  • BrianL2

    Where Rhett? He IMO is a genius…

    • dave statter

      Oh he is. A mental giant in a little person’s body. He has something up now I am sure you will agee with BrianL2. I linked to it at the top of the story. He’s sorry for the delay but Captain Wines didn’t send over the script until a short time ago.

      Statter

  • Anonymous

    I've been a big fan of this site for a long time.  Reading the posts over the years, it's clear that the majority of Statter911 fans, at least those who post, are from larger departments, cities, east or west cost big towns.  That's my upbringing, but about 20 years ago I moved west, and things are a lot different outside the metro areas.
    I think most of you would be shocked to learn just how many people live outside of fire protection areas.  In my state, approximately 8% of the population lives outside of a fire protection district and gets zero response if they have a fire.
    A new, exclusive subdivision was developed just outside the capital city a few years ago.  Many of these homes are over 7,000 square feet.  They have no water supply, no sprinklers (because there is no fire department to require it), and gravel roads serving 50 plus mini ranches.  They are just outside the city limits (population 200,000) but are in a foothills area with difficult access.  There is no fire district in this area.  If they have a fire, nobody comes.  You would be able to see the fire from City Hall, but it is no one's response area.
    People live in these rural areas by choice.  They receive the level of service (police, EMS, fire, sanitation, etc.) that their local government provides.  That's it.
    I do not blame the fire crews.  I blame the county officials who put the crews in this position.  Maybe they should have never started running outside of their city in the first place.  You would think that the county officials would have taken action after last year's incident, but they didn't.  Poeple shouldn't be surprised that another incident like this has happened, because nothing has been done to address the issue.
    Don't hate the players, hate the game.

    • dave statter

      I agree with you Anonymous. I have been aware of this since I began reading fire service publications as a teenager. I am not surprised and I don’t hate the players. I think they have been put in a position to fail. There are better ways to do this than force firefighters to arrive at a scene and fail to help. Thanks for writing.

      Statter

  • Anonymous

    There are a LOT of subscription fire depts in the US.

  • Former Chief

    FYI kids, for all of you who don't think this is a big issue, or that it's only Dave Statter "stirring the pot", the Top Story on Firehouse.com is, you guessed it, "Tennessee Fire Department Watches House Burn, Again".  I can hardly wait for the national media frenzy.  I hope someone asks me, because I will tell them, it is wrong to stand there and watch a house burn.

    • dave statter

      And don’t forget it’s the top story at The Fire Critic where they have to mention my name to draw an audience!

      • Former Chief

        Ah yes, I stand corrected and ask for forgiveness for not mentioning The Fire Critic.  I will go stand in the corner now.

  • Oh Lord

    So…did the fire department know when they left the station that this was a non-pay for spray residents? If so, then yes they did present an "image problem". The public saw black & white, a fire truck showed up and did nothing. When did they realize this resident didnt pay her cost, was she asked for her payment reciept when the Fire Truck arrived? Who paid for the fuel while the fire truck was sitting there and the crew was watching? Were they waiting for the fire to spread to an exposure home that did "pay for the spray".  Next time just stay in the fire house.

  • Raven Days

    Look…I live in Bexar County in Texas.  I am from Weakley Co Tennesee and even here we have heard of this!  We have volunteer fire fighters in the county here and my dad and brother are volunteers in Weakley Co and I can not imagine this happening there or even here in Texas.  I understand that equipment needs to be purchased and so forth but if the Volunteers can get equipment and have fund raisers then why the heck cant Obion Co?  If they know that there is a number of folks who dont pay or havnt paid, why not pay them a visit and expaln the benefits of paying the "for service fee" and if there are those who are unable to pay, perhaps there is a way to have a fund raiser!  Heck even our San Antonio City Fire Department have fund raisers.  I see them standing on our street corners holding the boots and we all stop and put money in!  When I saw this video and the story from last year,I am astounded that this could actually happen.  I guess I see it in a different manner then most of those who have posted here.  I see in a more human compassion sense and less in a business sense.  I see fire fighters as heros and not a Fee for Service type industry. 

  • A.M.D.

    Would things have gone any differently if there had been a report of an infant inside??  yes, I know there was not, but would they have still sat around.  How about if it had been one of their family members?  I bet the fee would have gone right out the door!!     I have been in the fire service for over 30 years and had I been in the officers seat, we would have gone in,  fee or no fee. Period.   I signed up to help people 1st and foremost.  Take my job but not my dignity. 

    • Anonymous

      wonderful post, very short and sweet, to the point

  • Jim Miller

    I am sorry that these folks lost their house.
    BUT, they knew the policy of their fee. They gambled and lost.
    This is nothing new at all.
    In St. Louis County, MO. back in the 1950's they had a fee for service and you paid it and got a fire mark to hang on the front of your house.
    If you had a fire the members would put it out if you were a member. If not you could collect a fee I think of maybe 50 to 100 dollars and give to them and they would work the fire.
    If not, they returned to quarters after making sure no one was inside and either house on the exposures was involved.
    I have very little sympathy for these folks who know the rules and do not abide by them.

  • Chris

    Everyone who receives fire protection pays for it, whether you pay taxes, fees, make donations to the local VFD, or whatever. Even a VFD has expenses to cover for equipment and fuel. I feel bad that the family lost their home, but the FD followed their policy. As Dave has said repeatedly, it makes the department look bad to respond to a fire and not do anything. The public doesn't understand what we do. They just know if we show up, we're supposed to do something.
    Anybody remember the Alameda drowning incident a short time ago? The FD responded to a suicidal drowning victim. The department had no current training in water rescue and didn't have the proper equipment to do so. Because of that, they had to stand around and watch a man drown. The public was up in arms because the FD just watched a man die, but the FD was following their policy and were acting according to their level of training. (If I remember right, the lack of equipment and training was a money issue there also.)

    • Michelle Anders

      Mr. Miller, I feel sorry for your soul and your future. I am sure you have written this comment from the safety and warmth of your home, complete with funds in the bank to pay this $75 fee. As much as I would want to try to pay this fee, things have been disastrous this year and I have to decide whether to get meds for the ear infection I have or put food on the table. And it is the same around the country. If you look at the photos and read the article, they were living in a mobile home. This should tell you right out of the gate that they have no money. How nice of you to be so judgemental.
      Please also let me point out that I was a firefighter for a number of years as was my husband. A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER! I paid for all of my gear and training out of my own pocket. We paid for equipment by having fundraisers in which the community contributed to their own safety and well being by contributing to these fundraisers. We NEVER EVER COLLECTED A PAY FOR SPRAY FEE!!!
      AND WE NEVER, EVER, EVER STOOD AND WATCHED SOMEONES HOME BURN! ALL OF THEIR POSSESSIONS AND LIFE GOING UP IN SMOKE FOR $75??? ARE YOU THAT HEARTLESS AND CRUEL??? AS YOU SIT IN YOUR WARM HOME GOING INTO THE HOLIDAYS, THE COLDEST PART OF THE YEAR? WHAT IF IT WERE YOUR FAMILY? YOUR BROTHER THAT COULDN'T MAKE THAT PAYMENT? WOULD YOU NOW FEEL THE SAME? OH, TOO BAD BROTHER, YOU SHOULD HAVE PAID THE $75, NOW YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IS GONE. SUCKS TO BE YOU!
      I now live in Franklin County, MO – right next to you. I can tell you for a fact that all of the firefighters in both of our counties would never stand by and let this happen. OUR FIREFIGHTERS ARE DECENT, UPSTANDING, COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE AS THEY SHOULD BE. THE FIREFIGHTERS THAT STOOD BY AND ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN SHOULD BE ASHAMED AND SHOULD BE KICKED OFF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AS THEY ARE VIOLATING THE BASIC OATH OF BEING FIREFIGHTERS. THE GOVERNMENT THAT IS PUTTING UP THESE RULES SHOULD BE OUSTED. And more than that, they, as well as you, should be ashamed to even call yourself a human being. They should fall upon their knees, as should you, and beg forgiveness for such crimes against their neighbors. I ONLY PRAY THAT YOU ARE IN NO POSITION TO DECIDE THE FATE OF OTHERS. IF YOU ARE, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CHANGE YOUR PROFESSION!

  • Pay to play

    Don't elect a guy named O'Bama as chief or you'll be doin it for free for everybody.

  • mark

    Lots to read, didn't get past this one yet:
     
    Amazing how many "compassionate conservatives" are saying "screw you" to these folks. Maybe when you guys get laid off to balance budgets, you'll have a little more sympathy. Certainly you won't object to being laid off, since government workers are so grossly overpaid and underworked, according to the right-wingers.
     
    What an absolute, truckload of bovine excrement. Unfrickingbelievable that you want to remove all personal responsibility from this citizen and blame this crap on the firemen.
     
    This kind of thinking is what has gotten us to this point, the gov't will take care of everything for us, just need to call 911 or 211 or whatever number. This isn't even funny, it's flat out stupid.
     
    Couple months ago we had a call for a bucket burning next to a house. Full assignment. First engine calls in service, dispatcher says "neighbor walked over and put the fire out". What an amazing concept!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Instead of relying on thousandsmillions of dollars worth of fire apparatus and a crapload of manpower, this guy had enough sense to throw some water on the fire. I'm sure Mr618 is absolutely horrified that this citizen would put his life on the line to extinguish a 5 gal bucket before it caused more damage to the neighbor's house, but he did. Simply amazing.
     
    What an ignorant comment.

    • dave statter

      But Mark if the public was so damn self reliant they wouldn’t need you.

      Personally I am not dividing this into liberal or conservative and I agree in a perfect world this person should pay. But that didn’t happen and we can all stand on that technicality and thump our chest about how bad they are for not doing it.

      As I said before, if they were delayed in getting out of their home because they were too lazy or too cheap to put batteries in their smoke alarm, why should the firefighters be obligated to go in and get them?

      As one of our other readers pointed out, if the citizens through their elected leaders fail to fund a water rescue team, should firefighters sit on the shore and watch someone drown (oh sorry, that already happened)?

      By having systems like this you are getting into judgement calls that we really shouldn’t force firefighters to make. The fire department wasn’t going to go broke by flowing water on that call and probably wouldn’t have cost them much more than standing by and watching it burn. By fighting the fire and billing the customer (even if they never pay .. but go after them), everyone wins.

      Better yet, if the citizens want to be so self reliant and not fund a fire department with tax money, just don’t have one and don’t let one come across the border. Then the firefighters aren’t in the middle.

      BTW, not necessarily to you Mark (for whom I have the deepest respect even if I don’t agree with you), are any of you who support not fighting this fire people who write in at other times to say never assume a structure is vacant, you have to go inside?

      Statter

  • Diabolical Plot

    This story made Yahoo News headlines…  I find it interesting that the comments of non-firefighters on yahoo are overwhelmingly siding with the Fire Dept. on this one…

    • dave statter

      Looks pretty evenly mixed on the WPSD website.

  • bozo the fire chief

    Free world please elect me as your fire chief and I will provide a bucket of cold fire to all households. Whoop whoop send in the clowns!

  • James

    Great Job Mayor, Whats your next trick not feeding seniors, taking candy from kids, or perhaps watching another home burn. Ill bet it gives you and your foundation saving fire Dept a really rush at Christmas. Your A IGNORANT SMALL TOWN ASSHOLE….. 

    • keith

      so   I assume you live in a big city and that makes you smart?  You think just  because this is a  small town  they are  ignorant a$$hole$? did you even think this post out at all,  really  taking cand from babies.  It is  sad that  people like olberman  jerk   have nothing better to do than bloster their  ratings by inciting  the rest of the world against a small town  (struggling fire department) that is trying to provide service to  its  township and the rest of the county(if they start putting out fires  for free  why would they charge anyone  at all,  cut the taxes for the service  and  give it away,  that is what they would be doing anyway.

  • Anonymous

    I was suddenly reminded while reading comments on here and other forums about this of a political debate that took place not far from here about 10 years ago. Throughout the 1990s, Canada was governed by a very left-wing Prime Minister.  The general talk in the media was also quite left-wing. I even recall around 1999 hearing that soldiers in the capital city of Ottawa were being heckled on the street. There was a vocal group that saw Canada as a nation of "peace". They argued that a nation of "peace" did not need a military. They vocally advocated the complete disbandment of the Canadian military, which would save them a LOT of money that they could spend on social programs. When someone asked them how a nation could exist without ANY military – who would defend the country if needed – they were very quick to respond that the American military would rush to defend Canada if needed as part of some greater social compact because both countries shared a continent.
    So let me ask the question….how would you react if Canada disbanded its military because it didnt want to have one and wanted to spend the money elsewhere, then asked US taxpayers to foot the bill and US soldiers to be put in harms way to defend them?
    As a firefighter, I dont know that I could sit at the end of a driveway and watch someone lose their possessions, but I do understand why one government would choose not to pay to provide service to another jurisdiction that freely elected NOT to even try to provide that service to its own residents. Since the department is belongs to the city, there is a chain of command. If you sign up there, you know what the policies of your department are, so they need to be OK with this before joining. 

  • mark

    This is without any doubt the mostdisgraceful and shameful act of alldged Public Safety I have ever heard. OK, for whatever reason the residents didnot pay $75.00 for annual Fire Protection.Who among us can say with any degree of certainty why,whynot, the people didnot pay? I am particularly disgusted with comments from North Chief, and the comments about the people may have Dialed 911 on their expensive Blackberry. You Individuals and your comments are an absolute shameful and disgusting Redneck Mentality. OK, just suppose the people may or maynot have had $75.00 to pay. What would the Local Political Powers say if in fact the call came in and the Report of a raging/working Fire with People Entrapment was given? The Politics and the emphasis on Money $75.00 seems to be the Priority. How would the Fire Dept and/or the Political Morons respond to Public Outcry if a Human Being lost their Life, because the Fire Dept Failed Miserably to carryout the Basic Core values of what the Fire and EMS Service is in place to provide? "$75.00  cost vs. the Loss of Life" What would the Fire Chief and the incompetence of a bunch of know nothing wannabes say if someone in the family of the structure had a Heart Attck from the Stree right there on the scene. One can only imagine how unprofessional that visual would have been while the Fire Chief and his merry group of misfits watched doing nothing? "$75.00 for the saving of Life and Property?  You individuals make me sick. Don't ever use the Fire Chief insignia with your name, you are a Puppet with Political Strings.
    Thank You

     
    Another glittering jewel of collosal ignorance.
     
    Next time read the article, understand the policy and buy yourself a clue before making an arse out of yourself.

  • You bleeding hearts make me wanna puke

    If a citizen gets in a car crasha nd totals his car….oooops I knew I needed insurance and as a matter of fact I am legally obligated to have insurance on my car and I knew that, but I didn't buy it. Does the insurance company morally obligated to take care of a guy who didn't pay up??? NO.

    • Erica

      A house burning to the ground with firefighters standing by and just watching is a totally different scenario from not having car insurance.. let's say if you saw someone trapped in an overturned vehicle.. would you go on your merry way.. "oh they don't have car insurance" they should have purchased it.. oh well i'm not going to help."
       

      • You bleeding hearts make me wanna puke

        I guess in your world everything is free, or at least someone else pays for it just so its there for you….sounds like one big happy socialist world   or some kind of occupy south fulton protest. This is what is at the core of America's slow spiral downward….give it to me, I deserve it, you owe it to me. Try working for it, earning it or paying for it with your own money. Kinda the way it worked for the 1st 200 some years in America.

        • Anonymous

          yes maybe they are part of the problem but people with your piss poor attitude about no one deserving help if they cant afford to pay screw um is the other sideof the spectrum. you are a fox news kinda idiot and the ones you speak of are keith oberman kinda idiots. lay off the junk food idiot it is rotting your brain. step back, think before you react or say something stupid, and for God sake find your compassion

          • Chairman Mao

            Ok quit your job, your volunteering at the volunteer fire company 25 hours a week isn't enough!! Theres more people out there that need your free help…you are now expected by the people that need your compassion to be there 80 hours a week. Hell you volunteered for this, not me!!
             

  • Dallas

    Ultimately the people who elected the politicians who made the decision not to provide fire and rescue service are the ones responsible.  As mentioned in other comments there was a proposal to implement a fire tax to pay for the service but the elected representatives voted down the proposal (in a vote that was held very shortly after the last widely reported fire occurred if I recall correctly).  If the citizens are really concerned about this then they will vote in politicians who address the problem.
     
    As things currently stand though I can't fault the fire department; while they are in a very uncomfortable position (through no fault of their own) they are doing what they have to do if they are going to exist at all.  Dave's theory of charging a fee for service in all likelihood isn't really viable. 
     
    First I suspect that the collection rate on any fee charged would be extremely low.  Further, to make the fee a viable means of providing revenue in the absence of subscriptions (I am sure that at least some current subscription holders would opt for the fee plan further eroding subscription income) the fee would have to be quite substantial and this would just antagonize the first problem. You certainly can't count on anyone unwilling to pay a very nominal $75/year subscription fee to pay for property insurance so there isn't any insurance company to bill, just the property owner and they just lost most of what they had.
     
    As mentioned by another commenter there isn't any expectation that the property owner should be able to call up a random insurance company they do not have a policy with and expect the insurance company to pay; it doesn't work that way.  Insurance works by pooling risk to cover the claims of the few with the premiums of the many; same thing with subscription fire departments.  If no one carries insurance there isn't any money to pay the claims; if no one pays subscriptions there isn't any FD to respond.
     
    A much more rational solution is a fire tax but obviously the electorate of Obion County is of the same opinion of this homeowner; they don't think it will ever happen to them…
     
    Finally, I have to say that even if the FD had engaged I am doubtful that the outcome of the fire itself would have changed much; fires in mobile homes don't generally result in a habitable structure when all is said and done, regardless of how much FD effort is applied to the problem.

    • dave statter

      Dallas,

      I agree with most of what you are saying (as I usually do). If I am not mistaken I have heard from chiefs who do the bill a lot for the non-subscribers, but I could be wrong. And I thought about the loss of revenue that might cause. I would tell the county if there aren’t a certain percentage of subsribers we aren’t providing the service.

      Yes, the citizens and leaders of Obion County have spoken and failed to follow the advice of the municipal fire chiefs. That is a fact. But it is also a fact that firefighters are the ones paying the price.

      Statter

  • PPFD

    Come on now $75.00 is:
    A couple cartons of cigerettes
    An xbox 360 game or PS3 game
    Cell phone payment
    Cable TV
    And lets not forget beer!
    Priorities, gotta have your priorites
    Lady knew and choose not to pay. Could she afford it? I don't know, I'd throw out a guess and say no. 
    Personally I don't care, it will happen again somewhere. 
    Pretty simple here, funded FD don't respond into unfunded areas.

    • William R. Carey

      DICK

  • Justin

    Shame on the FD and politicians. this isn't what we stand for as firefighters/publi servants.

    now what happens? these PEOPLE go on welfare, get placed in govt housing and become more of a stress to our nations social program fabric than if the FD had just put the fire out and changed the optional "annual fee" to a must pay tax.

    • Amazed

      Seriously?   What ever happened to personal responsibility in this country?  Everyone seems to think that everything should be provided for them free so they can be taken care of no questions asked.  As it has been mentioned numerous times, the unincorporated part of the county SHOULD be on some sort of  mandatory fire tax.  The system has to be changed.. In the mean time, however, the people living in that part of the county KNEW what the consequences would be if they didn't do their part, and THEY made the conscious decision to NOT pay, choosing instead to bury their heads in the sand and magically think it would never happen to them.  Right or wrong, the resident made their own choice.

  • William Franklin

    Firefighters usually are required to attend training to keep their skills up-to-date.  The South Fulton firefighters must feel pretty embarassed at the comments they receive during this training.  South Fulton must look hard to find volunteer firefighters who just do exactly what their chief tells them to and have no pride in themselves or in their profession.

  • SlingShot

    I have been a vol. firefighter for 35 years serving as Chief and Asst. Chief.  Our dept. is 100% Volunteer, we own every piece of equipment.  We will never refuse assistance to anyone even if they do not reside in our township.
    I sure hope South Fulton did not recieve any Federal grant monies that are allocated to the fire service.

  • David Njus

    I think who ever set up this policy is retarded…….If is  going to cost only $ 75  a year……..simply add it to the tax code and then everyone would be covered  and the bill paid…for the firetrucks to respond  and watch property burn is SICK …..I only hope that they get to experience the same type of ignorance  in their own life.. These people are living  there , beause what they can afford..  The idiots that set up this fee plan  are really stupid and have no compassion for anything.  I suppose they wouldn't care if anyone died  either………all for $ 75 .  It funny what greed has done to your town.

  • tony

    What a bunch of crap. I sincerely hope that the mayor and all the so called firemen that watched those peoples house burn down suffer and have something comperable happen to them. This is exactly what is wrong with this country. Look at their situation. HAS ANYONE CONSIDERED THAT THEY MAY BE UNABLE TO PAY. Sure you say its only $75.00 , but honestly that alot when you have nothing. You people are shameless and lower than scum. I bet you're all God fearing christians too. Mr Mayor I bet you even based your election campaign on being a family man and deacon in the church. Ask yourself what would God have done. The grim reaper will visit each of you one day and when you stand before the almighty I hope you're ready to pay for this one.

  • mike theys

    I'am sorry but it sounds like blackmail to me as a former fire chief and firefighter we would have never stood by and watched someones home burn to the ground subscripition or not.This says alot for the fire dept.

  • Jon

    Let me state that I feel sorry for anyone who loses their home, no body deserves that.  They should have paid the fee and didn't but that does not mean they deserve to be without the home or worldly belongings.
    I do have some things that nag me however:
    When I first took my EMT training there was an entire section set aside for the legal aspects.  A couple of things that were stressed repeatedly were the duty to act and the negligence of not acting.  If I was dipatched to (or just happend upon) a pt and made contact – including doing an assessment, then I was obligated to provide the best care I could within my scope of certification.  It would seem that there could also be a similar obiligation in a situation like this.  They were dispatched, from what I can see did an assessment (no lives in danger, not spreading to exposures, correct address etc.).  What is the obligation of a Firefighter or fire department that has arrived on scene, made contact and done an assessment?
    Next, knowing how things like dispatches, records, address maps etc. always seem to have errors at the most inconvient times, how much confidence would any of us have that subscription records for a given address were accurate?  Are any of us willing to bet our career, or our life savings on it?
    What is the department's policy within the city limits for addresses that are in arears on their taxes?  If the address is not current on taxes does the department refuse to put out the fire?
    Lastly, as I am not familiar with the laws of TN, since the fire department did not put out the fire, will an investiagation be done and will an official cause be determined?
    These are the things I wonder about.

  • Anonymous

    "It's wrong to stand and watch a house burn."  That's correct.  Once they made sure that subscribers' properties were not an exposure problem, they should have left the scene.

  • Southie

    @ David Njus –
     
    The people set it up. So not only are they cheap when they voted down funding county wide protection in a ballot vote, but in your words they are retarded and idiots.  Hello, before you run your c-garage about this topic educate yourself before you speak.

  • Mark

    No training so you stand around and let someone drown?  Wait what kind of excuse is this…random people all the time just do what's right and help, but if a policy says you're not certified to swim you won't do it?  Really?  Please, do everyone a favor and quit because you're not qualified to be a firefighter at that point much less a human being.
    How about save the multi-thousand dollar house and have a POLICY that if you're currently UNPAID and your house is saved you are legally obligated to pay the $75.00 plus a $1,000.00 fine.  Nah, too simple.  As to the rest of the "policy", "i could get sued" etc., grow a damn backbone and if those issues are that real and you care so damn much why don't you make a point of bringing them up and trying to change the system?  Idiots, one and all. 

  • Pingback: KEEPING YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A** | Iron Firemen

  • MS. HOW ABOUT A GOOD DEED

    WOW! UNBELIEVABLE! OBION COUNTY, THE MAYOR, FIRE WATCHERS, YOU ALL REMIND ME OF THE TWILIGHT ZONE! OR ALFRED HITCHCOCK MOVIE! THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE GOING ON………..DO YOU SO CALLED HUMANS REALLY HAVE THAT MUCH HATE IN YOUR HEARTS? WHY DID YOU LET THAT HOUSE BURN DOWN? THEY COULD SUE YOU, MAYBE THEY WERE GOING TO PAY THE 75.OO FEE BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR! WHAT IF SOMEONE MAKES A PAYMENT OF 20.00 AND HAS TO WAIT A FEW MONTHS TO MAKE ANOTHER PAYMENT ARE YOU GOING TO PUT A LITTLE PART OF THE FIRE OUT? HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTY? AT 75.00 PER RESIDENT WHAT IS YOUR TOTAL?HOW MANY FIRES PER MONTH? THIS HOUSE YOU WATCHED BURN DOWN, IT MAY HAVE BEEN A MOBILE HOME AND AN OLDER ONE BUT IT WAS THEIR HOME! WHAT DID YOU ALL SAY AAH THEIR NOT LOSING MUCH. IM AN ADULT I BEEN AROUND RICH PEOPLE AND POOR PEOPLE AND I TREAT EVERYONE THE SAME! MAYBE IN YOUR NEXT LIFETIME YOU WILL BE IN THEIR SHOES. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, YOU ARE GOING TO TOSS AND TURN AND NEVER SLEEP TIL YOU REALIZE THAT 75.00 ISNT WORTH MAKING THESE PEOPLE SUFFER AND WATCH THEIR HOME BURN TO THE GROUND, WHERE THEY SLEPT AT NIGHT AND WOKE UP IN THE MORNING AND KNOWING YOU WERE INVOLVED WITH WHOEVER GOT YOU TO FOLLOW THEIR PAY FIRE TAX IDEA OR ELSE!! WERE YOU SCARED TO WALK AWAY AND REALIZE THIS IS COMPLETELY WRONG! DO YOU HAVE A MIND OF YOUR OWN?

    • http://elaffhq.com Lt. Lemon

      Holy Caps Lock, Batman!
       
      *On a side note, Statter, I find it impossible to reply directly to an individual comment on any browser other than IE…and who actually uses IE…ugh!*

      • mark

        Interesting, I've been having this problem with FireFox for sometime, thought it was just me.
         
        Think I'll go call 911 or 211 or 411 and see if I can get someone from the local gov't IT department to help me since I stopped paying a subscription for IT support from the local contractor.

  • cdoc29

    Has anybody else wondered why the local citizens of this area havn't started thier own Fire Department?

  • firefighthero

    Is there any record of the Chief of the department paying his $75.00?

  • retired firefighter

    at what point do we stop protecting people from themselves?  They took a gamble to save a few bucks and lost.  No different than folks who drive wrecklessly and crash- unfortunately, they usually hurt others as well due to their lack of accountability.   How is the fire department suppose to make everything better? 
    Recall that volunteer fire departments were organized to protect friends and neighbors in a community.  usually done without local government involvement, taxes, etc. until folks start expecting/demanding more and more services but don't want to contribute (donations, taxes, membership fees, etc.).
    Even better, those who can recall history will remember the "fire marks" that insurance companies put on the properties they insured?  And what about the stickers and signs I recall seeing some time ago in rural areas that indicated someone had paid their annual "fire membership fee" and therefore the property was covered so the local FD (who relied on those fees to operate).  I used to see these on front doors, windows, mailboxes, etc.

  • mark

    But Mark if the public was so damn self reliant they wouldn’t need you.
     
    Sure enough, Dave. I guess I deserve that, as I am usually the one taking the extreme views to make a point. You do know what I mean though. lol
     
    Personally I am not dividing this into liberal or conservative and I agree in a perfect world this person should pay. But that didn’t happen and we can all stand on that technicality and thump our chest about how bad they are for not doing it.
     
    I wasn't either, just responding to the ignoramus that was. The fact is they didn't pay, gambling on the hope they wouldn't need it. They lost. The dept abided by their guidelines whether we like it or not.
     
    As I said before, if they were delayed in getting out of their home because they were too lazy or too cheap to put batteries in their smoke alarm, why should the firefighters be obligated to go in and get them?
     
    Good question, but off the topic just a tad. Smoke alarms are not a requirement of responding or rescuing someone. I know the point you are making, but it falls short IMO. Besides, their policy is to perform rescues if lives are at risk.
     
    As one of our other readers pointed out, if the citizens through their elected leaders fail to fund a water rescue team, should firefighters sit on the shore and watch someone drown (oh sorry, that already happened)?
     
    Yes, they should. Because as soon as the poo hits the fan, the dept will be fined, charged, castigated and castrated for not having policies and not following them as soon as an employee is hurt or dies. Why didn't the police have a trained swimmer who could rescue a suicidal individual? Why isn't it their fault? They were the ones who need to mitigate the scene before EMS steps in.
     
    Life ends in death, fire, EMS, police, even doctors can not save everyone or everything. Houses and structures are lost everyday even when departments do respond, despite the best efforts. Some burn because the dept responds, we see that regularly here at Statter.
     
    By having systems like this you are getting into judgement calls that we really shouldn’t force firefighters to make. The fire department wasn’t going to go broke by flowing water on that call and probably wouldn’t have cost them much more than standing by and watching it burn. By fighting the fire and billing the customer (even if they never pay .. but go after them), everyone wins.
     
    I agree completely. Don't get me wrong Dave, I am not making a judgment call about what they did or didn't do, other than following their policies based on what the head guy tells them. I would go so far as to say if they don't pay, just add it to their taxes so they must pay it sooner or later. Or they lose their house. This whole concept is so foreign to me, I just don't get it. Townships in Michigan are required by law to provide fire protection. Whether that be their own department or contract with a neighboring municipality, they MUST provide it. Just like police protection, so to really try to understand where the stupid residents are coming from and then the leaders, it's almost beyond me. Fire protection when spread across the citizens is so inexpensive it's just stupid to not have it. Far cheaper than insurance.
     
    Better yet, if the citizens want to be so self reliant and not fund a fire department with tax money, just don’t have one and don’t let one come across the border. Then the firefighters aren’t in the middle.
     
    Yes and no. I can agree except that as many others have stated, the first and foremost responsibility of gov't is protection of its citizens. (I won't go further than this) So to have a gov't entity not provide it, is once again beyond me. This is almost a situation where the leaders should just tell the taxpayers they are going to do it because it is their first responsibility, just like police protection. Anyone ever opt out of that? Good chance it won't be needed. I have a bunch of guns so I can protect my home and property. But I have no choice but to pay that, either.
     
    From a true liberarian standpoint, these people got what they deserve. But since I am not 100% libertarian, they should pay the taxes for fire protection.
     
    BTW, not necessarily to you Mark (for whom I have the deepest respect even if I don’t agree with you), are any of you who support not fighting this fire people who write in at other times to say never assume a structure is vacant, you have to go inside?
    Statter
     
    We aren't that far apart on this Dave. I agree with what you are saying, probably 99%. You're misunderstanding my reply to the maroon who said this was a result of incompassionate conservatives. He's blaming the department, not the homeowner, who has far, far more responsibility in this mess than the department.
     
    Not sure I am following your last question. The only time a structure is vacant is if someone who left the structure when they realized the fire was burning says it is. Not neighbors, not someone who has been at work all day, etc. I disagree with my chiefs on this philosophy, so I have to abide by their orders. I will respectfully disagree and try to make my point, but that is all I can do. Just as the chief here is bound by his orders.

  • Former Chief

    Well, this issue certainly has led to some very interesting opinions, both pro and con for this particular policy and course of action.  I wasn't going to comment on this again, but there are a few things that are really bothering me.  First, the nastiness and name calling by some is really out of line and not necessary.  Let's just have a spirited debate and respect one another's opinion.  It is obvious that some posters have brought their extreme political views to their debate.  I personally think that is out of place here and in my opinion, diminishes the credibility of those individual's points of view.  I am going on the assumption that everyone posting here is or was a Firefighter.  We can certainly agree to disagree, but at the end of the day, we should all remember we are "on the same side" so to speak.  I said in an earlier post that it is my opinion that fire departments put out fires, among other things.  If you're going to respond, you need to take appropriate action.  I also believe that fire protection is one of those basic responsibilities of government.  How that is funded is up for debate.  Some have made very good arguments about people taking responsibility for their protection, as in paying their subscription fee.  That is certainly a valid argument.  All may not agree with that, but at least respect the position.  Unless I missed it, I haven't seen anyone from the area in question post a response to this issue.  I would really like to hear their perspective.
    I have a question regarding responses to this County area by South Fulton or other FD's.  What do they do for brush fires, car fires, or any other response that doesn't involve a structure that is or isn't protected by a subscription fee.  Do they respond?  Do they take action and extinguish the fire?  If they do, who pays for their response?  They must respond to calls other than structural fires.  I would also be curious as to exactly how much the City of South Fulton collects in subscription fees from residents or businesses outside of the city limits and how much of that money goes into the FD budget.  I'm also curious as to how many responses South Fulton does outside of the city limits. The answers to those questions may shed some more light on this issue, or possibly cloud it more.  I guess it depends on your opinion.
    In any event, I'm sure some will take exception to my comments.  That's fine, I only ask you respect my opinion as I will yours.
    Stay safe Brothers and Sisters.

    • mike

      I was a volunteer firefighter for 25 years. I dont give a hoot about some town ordinance about 7500 fees. Due to the fact that the mayor is defending it this tells me that the fire dept answers to the town. Our dept would have put the fire out and let the town deal with recouping the money from the couple. When we are trained as firefighter and  EMTs we have a responsibility that transends any dollar value. To me those firefighters bring shame to thre profession.  If I were the couple involved I would love to know if the dept gets even  one dime of state or federal money.  I think a good lawyer could find that out. Believe me if they do receive any state or federal money they have responsibility to do their duties under state law. Which most states have on the books by the way. If that is the case I would own that mayor and his town.  The fire dept should hang its head in shame.

  • Dani

    We pay billions of dollars on war and foreign aid but we can't help one of our own because they didn't pay 75 dollars.  I think it's a shameful act.  Our tax dollars go all over the world which is so thoughtful.  When will those dollars start helping the people here?

  • http://biketourist.podomatic.com Bike

    America is bleeding to death. This trend is going haywire. Soon, you will be left bleeding on the road because you did not pay your pay per ride to the hospital.

  • Tim

    Someone want to explain why fire service is not part of their basic services?  I bet those people pay property tax and sales tax.  Fire and police service are considered the essential government services they should be funded before a public school system.  This fee system fire department should not be eligible for federal grant programs.
    Oh and where are environmentally concerned citizens?  Failure to extinguish this fire released a lot of toxic fumes and gases in our atmosphere.  Maybe the EPA should fine the FD.

    • Anonymous

      Tim, the explanation is VERY simple. The elected government, at the request of its citizens, was given a mandate NOT to do it.
      Nobody has denied this to the citizens of Obion County. They have, through the domcratic process, chosen explicitly not to have fire service as a basic service. Unless you are suggesting a Federal or State law that supersedes their democratic rights, they have every right to choose not to provide fire service, education or what ever other service to their community. 
      In the US, people DO have the right to be stupid. They just have to live with the consequences a lot of the time.

  • Anonymous

    In reading the comments, I believe it is now time to make any/whatever change and/or upgrade in the exisitng $75.00 Annual Fee. Yes it was a terrible situation for the people who live at the burned down structure. I would like to call out Craig  Turczyn for his out rageous comments pointing out the written Policy and his immature unprofessional words of juvenile mentality. To begin with, whenever an incident like that occurs upon arrival on the scene the Fire Dept. has a Moral Obligation to put out the Fire, without hesitation or questions asked. OK so for whatever reason the people didnot pay $75.00 is no excuse not to carryout the Basic Fundamentals of learned Firefighting. Unacceptable by any Standards. The Mayor the other political people and those who support what took place each one of you should be ashamed of yourselves. There has got to be a reasonable solution that can be achieved when Reasonable people sit down and begin open dialogue. So far the area involved is yes the area is unincorporated. That is more the reason for concern to ensure Fire and EMS Protection. Some comments were so outrageous "the people got what they deserved" simply because of $75.00.  One comment was so disgusting the people lived in a Trailer Park so they didn't have much money or anything. Whoever that individual is you are without any doubt a miserable excuse for any Fire/EMS Affiliation. As for the comments I read questioning Mr. Statter about his material reporting, He (Mr. Statter) has always been Honest up front with Facts. I am glad The Mayor and his merry band of misfits made National Media today. I watched on CNN/Headline News, Mr. Keith Olberman spoke out with Truth and Facts, and the IAFF spoke out with  written Disgust how,why,whynot who this mess occurred.The Mayor is now a National Media subject. "What in the World is Wrong with you People"? Are you Crazy. Under no circumstances, absolutely none does the Fire Dept. ever Fail to serve the Citizens whoever they are, where ever they may Live. The Time is now to begin a Forum of all interested parties to set the Agenda of what is needed and how best to accomplish the Safety and Welfare of all citizens, not through $75.00
     
    Thank You.
     

  • nc fire capt

    Dave this is a hot topic, much like the home that burned. I am from a rural area of eastern North Carolina. We have combination dept so the high dollar trucks and big pension plans and overtime out the wazzu doesnt happen here. For the life of me i dont see all these commentators here arguing the cost of the response as an issue. The dept did respond and did nothing so the money was spent for no justification and no action. We can put so many what ifs in this story to bend it to any way of thinking. The bottom line is if you respond you should act within your training and capabilities. If you cant provide the service then dont respond. The community at large in Obion County have failed themselves and continue to do so as long as they allow the response with no action. Everyone should know when they purchase a home or property what type of fire protection you will have the insurance compaies and lending institutions do their home work so should the property owner. I dont blame the home owner here for calling 911 but they should have known what was going to happen. I do blame the fire dept for responding and not doing the right thing. Mac Austin Green taught a leadership class at NFA one year that i attended and i brought home with me one piece of information that i have offered to all those around me. " Basic Fire Fighter Impowerment"  Is my decision the right thing for the consumer, is it right for the dept, is it right for me , is it morally right, and am i willing to take the criticism and accolades, and will i accept responsibillity for the decision. If you can answer yes to all of those then do it and sleep well for you have acted appropriately.  I may not have quoted  it just as it was delivered but the meaning is there. We can beet this dept and home owner and elected officials to death with all the what ifs; but it all comes down to personal accountability on each of those foremention.

  • JAger

    Love these guys and those who apoligize for them.  From the distance they had no way of knowing that the home was free of people.   In the confusion of a fire response people may assume no one is home and later find a tragedy,   That they responded and stood by for $75 is disgusting.  I watched the interviews the first time and this collection of morons are a disservice to the fire service.   If these departments get one penny of tax dollars the families should sue the pants off them.  They knew it was outside the city…they knew they were responding to a non-subscribing residence…its almost like they wanted to arrive and make a case to take people for more funds.  Scare them straight.   Avoid this town for sure.

  • I am a genius

    Settle this now…That COunty should institute an immediate tax of $100.00 per house…..$250.00 fer the real nice ones….and give every bloody cent to the fire department and it's over.
    Now ask yourself Why didn't the County do that in the 1st place??  Because the County wants a free ride on the backs of the volunteers from a City not even part of the County—THATS THE REAL PROBLEM YOU IDJITS!!   Its not the fire department, IT'S THE GOVERNMENT NOT DOING ANYTHING FOR THEIR PEOPLE!!
     

  • mark

    From the distance they had no way of knowing that the home was free of people.   In the confusion of a fire response people may assume no one is home and later find a tragedy,
     
    I have no idea if this occurred in this case, but if the homeowner is standing outside the front door and tells the FD that the home is empty, does that still mean a search is performed?
    Do you know for a fact that they didn't get this info from the homeowner? (maybe they did, maybe they didn't, I didn't see anything in the article but I may have missed it)
     
    Maybe I just don't understand. You roll up to a SFD with a resident standing outside telling you the family is all out and standing next to him or in the car or at the neighbors or whatever, is this good enough info to go on? Or is a search still performed?
     
    In all seriousness, is a structure only "clear" when a primary and secondary is performed?

  • Big Julie

    There is an old Soviet Union Peasant Saying that fairly well covers this situation. My Russian is pretty rusty but I try my best to get the flavor of it across.  Here goes…"TOUGHSKI CHITSKI!" 
    The homeower made a conscious decision not to pay an inconsequential (in comparison to the cost of replacing his home) fee for fire protection.  Almost certainly, the fire was a result of some screw-up on a family member's part.
    One of the most important principles of our existence in America and what it contributes to American Exceptionalism is TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE'S OWN ACTIONS.
    I congratulate the Mayor for his courageous decision.  If all the local residents not generally covered by the City's fire policy did not know what that policy was, they do NOW! Fire-fighting equipment is specialized and expensive machinery to buy and maintain, and takes practiced  and gutsy individuals to operate it.
    This homeowner is obviously suffering from an overdose of compassionate Liberalism…"I won't worry about it because if push comes to shove they'll come and protect me…" We have far, far too much of that in America and it has to stop.  One sure way to stop it is to do what the Mayor has done…force those who do not want to take personal responsibility to either do so OR PAY THE CONSEQUENCES!

  • James E Dheel II

    Anyone who sticks up for these idiots and condones what they did is trash.  Those people Pay Taxes in some form from their paychecks.  Those taxes are for fire depts, Police, and any public services that are similar for their upkeep.  That town Government is attempting to EXTORT money from its citizens.   No other Fire dept watches families lose homes even in violent cities like Chicago Illinois.   Yes I said EXtortion and I will Publically Accuse it.

  • James E Dheel II

    Yes I told my name. Piss on fultons crap government. Extortionist bastards.

  • W. Alan Ball, EMT-FS

    It is only a matter of time until someone is seriously burned or dies as a result of the policy the South Fulton Tennesee Fire Department.  I would encourage each and everyone who reads this to write to Governor Haslam and demand the South Fulton Fire Department be decertified.
    Police are expected to protect and serve. The South Fulton Fire Department policy brings shame to the State. There is nothing to prevent the City from charging a fee  for services renderd whenever propertyowners fail to pay for membership. Such fees are normally covered in homeowners policies.

  • scba272

    If the fire service is a business an a resident fails to pay tax/fee the service should help them and then file tax lein aganist property and report same to credit bureau effecting their rating. The property can’t be sold and if when all taxes & fees will be collected. Not sure if this is an answer but is a legal sollution too a very dangerous policy

  • bill fry

    I hope an attorney takes this case to court and they are  sure to win. Shame on this town and this Mayor. What an embarrassment to the state of Tennessee! Are the people in South Fulton proud of this?

  • bill fry

    Shame on the mayor, the fire chief and the City of South Fulton. I hope attorneys get involved soon.This is an embarrassment to the State of Tenessee. Are the people of South Fulton proud of this? I would recommend a boycott of goods and services from this town!

  • Joe D Decapitator

    This is why South Fulton TN is the poster child for the dumbest public officials in the U.S.! The first ime this happened, when several pets were left inside to die as the building burned, should have been the very last time this could have ever happened. But now, the low IQ crowd in South Fulton have really shown their cretinism with this one!

  • psd 104

    Some please enlighten me on the FD down there are they paid or volunteer ?

  • http://None Bill- Vol fireman

    and you people wonder why your all called rednecks only a scum bag would sit back and watch a home burn and do nothing all for the love of filthy stinking money all of you should have the same thing happen to you rednecks LOSERS, we never trun our back on people we do bill and they pay not like the redneck of  fulton tn LOSERS. Hope all of you are happy drove there and did nothing what a bunch on losers and idiots and I hope you have a merry christmas too LOSERS

  • michael williams

    Im from ga i used to live in tennessee and i will promise that this idiotic retarded bunch of morons will never do this crap ever again or i personally will pay whatever it takes to legally remove this idiot and all the people involved from office and their jobs will all be lost i will personally pay for the countries best attorneys as well in order to remove them and have them thrown in jail. and ill come there and show the citizens how to fight any fire that might threaten their homes without ever using the cities or counties fire departments anyways . you pay your damned taxes and they get paid why should they make anyone pay a 75.00 fee to use services their tax dollars already pay for. its a scam and its corruption. by the way i will do whatever i can to help this family if they will just email me at mr_anonymous_86@yahoo.com. step down fire cheif and the mayor and be a human being instead of a pure out total a$$hole.

  • John Simpers

    I am the Fire Chief at the Omaha Rural Fire Association in Omaha, Arkansas and I find this story extremely disturbing.  We operate on a membership fee basis of only $35.00 a year and I don't give a damn if a resident pays his dues or not.  We will fight the fire and worry about dues later. Arkansas has a statute that allows fire departments to collect from insurance companies if the residents have not paid their fire dues. I think the federal government should ban this fire department from getting any federal grants!  The real thing is that we provide a service to the community as we are volunteers and are a part of the community. They are not fire fighters, but clowns in my mind. Shame on them! I grew up as the son of an assistant fire chief and I know what service to the community is.  They do not!

  • William R. Carey

    So disgusting!!  I am a Police Officer in PA and would risk my life fee paid or not!  These so called fire fighters are not heros but cowards!  If one of them had the balls to stand up and do whats right these people would still have their home!  All I have to say is KARMA I dont know how they or the mayor can sleep at night!  And is it true that they wasted the gas to drive there only to watch it burn!!  What a society move to China!   

  • zeke

    These Tn bast**rds are definitely not Christian.  They had rejected Christ are they are
    the anti-Christ!

  • Amy

    Obviously everyone has there opinions! This page is on fire! (Ha! Probably not that funny).
    My opinion? Their system is not working there. There is a reason this has hit headlines and why people are getting upset. It is borderline inhuman. I don't know any fireman around where I live who would want to work for an agency that had to stand by and do nothing.  The firefighters I know take an oath to protect life and property- they obviously signed a different contract…..
    This area needs to throw their annual fees in the trash and instead enforce a fire tax and if people think its too high- they can move. You may have unhappy people , but at least everyone can enjoy the pleasure of someone trying to help save their home- not watch it burn.
    Shame on South Fulton. There is no excuse. Shame on their Mayor for being okay with this. Someone needs to overturn that Mayor and bring some sense to this area. Personally, it sounds like the Twilight Zone…..

  • LISA

    What a disgrace!! Unbelievable! Is this what the world has come to? How can people just sit around and watch a house burn down with all the resources to intervine? This story makes me sick and upset with the lack of compassion some people have. The fire could have been stopped and I am sure that someone would have put up the $75. Sleep well tonight you A-holes who think just because this guy didn't pay $75 he should have his house burnt down.

    • keith

      I  think  is  is  funny to read all the  people that  think this is  all the  firredepartments  fault.  I grew up in Murray  kY  on a rual farm  .  The  biggest thing that is not taken into account is these people   had the chance and were told  the consiquences of  not paying up.  These  folks   made the decision that  thier  home was not worth  paying 75 dollars a year  to save.  no  that  diaster struck  they expect to  get  something for free.  it is  sad the  department is  taking the heat,    it is  totally  unfair for the  taxpayers that  pay for the service  to   have   turn around and  pay for the free loaders  as well.    It  is sad they lost their  home  but many  people  drive around without  car insurance   should  we  buy them a new car  when they  wreck.  these people  laughed in the face of every  tax paying citizen and  gave the proverbial  finger to the  fire department  when asked to  pay  for  support, they  chose not to pay  and now  they want a freebe.  but that is what the United States has come to  make everyone else pay.   Mobile home do not have a  long life when on fire  so  the  department  (if a  long  way  away  would not be able to get there any way)>

    • keith

      So  if  I was a  non paying homeowner and you had paid you would be ok with the firedepartment  saving my a$$  even though  you had to pay up and I refused to?  Your  gonna  save one  home that did not pay and the rest  will of course see this  and  no  one will be paying,   it is  totally unfair  for the  people that  pay  to  support the  people that  made a decision that their  property was not worth  the  yearly fee

  • k m

    appalled….$75 can be collected yes enforce the fee whats wrong with you people?? if they hadn't paid collect double….after you put it out…
    Use sales taxes to pay the fire dept…..all these rural people most likely shop in your stupid town and help your town in many ways which you are over looking!!!
    Wwhy would they waste gas and hours coming to watch the fire if they are so broke? ????  Its sick and evil ….stories like this make me hope there is a god….and that he is watching your evil ways…the fact that more than half these hypocrites MOST LIKELY claim to be christian and attend church is reason enough  for me to avoid it like the plague

  • retired firefighter

    has anyone thought about the potential consequences to the firefighters if they fight a fire they are not legally (contractually or otherwise) obligated to?  That might be a reason the Mayor wants to limit the department's activities.  Benefits for those who may become injured, disabled, or die as a result could be denied since they were not acting in a "legal" manner.  We've all read past stories about similiar situations where such technicalities are used to avoid paying out large amounts of $ for workers comp, survivors benefits, etc.
    I do wonder why they even responded to start with- do they not have an accurate way to determine who has paid their fire "dues"?
    I live in a suburban county that has a mostly volunteer FD structure.  We now pay $2.50/month collected yearly on our home tax bill with ALL of that funding going directly to each fire department to support their operations.  Relative chump change to ensure they will be able to respond.  Less than a carton of cigarettes in most places in the US but vitally important to those in each community that give of themselves to respond during their neighbor's time of need.

    • keith

      They may be obligated to  respond to the fire  to  ensure it does not  spread to a wooded area or another  neighbors home    (other homes)

  • Anonymous

    I would like to respond to the comments by "Big Julie Says" you are a disgusting piece of work to make such hurtful and idiotic words of vile meaning. You should be ashamed of yourself. As is the case here who knows why the $75.00 feee wasnot paid by these folks? They have suffered enough with the loss of everything they own, and cherished. Obvously your mouth speaks volumes of your ignorance/typical Redneck. Your backside is probably as big as your mouth. Both filled with empty intelligence.

    • keith

      so your  verbal  attack  shows  everything about your character as well , that and the fact you hide behind anonymous  login  LOL     they  suffered  because they  laughed in the rest of the  county's face and  refused to pay,  it was their  decition.    I you think  everyone that  does not agree with you is a  redneck,  how racist             exactly  what  is it about rednecks you do not like?   you think it is  polite to  call everyone  rednecks.   we see who the real name thrower is ,  look in the mirror

  • Paul Felix Schott

    IN DECEMBER OF 1964 I LOST MY TWO YOUNGER SISTERS IN A FIRE AS THE FIRE FIGHTERS MADE A
    BIG MISTAKE. ALL THREE OF US WERE DOA TO THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE OF THE PRAYS OF OTHERS I LIVE.

    I AND EVERYONE IN THE WORLD DO NOT WANT TO SEE THIS AGAIN.
    SOME ONE IN THAT SICK FIRE DEP. NEEDS TO GO TO JAIL. All in Obion County, South Fulton
    local government in Tennessee need to to be run out of town.

    This is just how sick OUR government has gotten. IN GOD WE TRUST
    should be on the front door of every School in this Nation that
    i pray stays UNITED in that UNITED WE STAND IN GOD WE TRUST when
    the wicked are aloud to be in OUR government this is what happens.
    WE THE PEOPLE need to stop letting the wicked in office. Let us
    all vote this coming election for the good that read the Bible
    and live by our Lord's Word not the wicked kick them out of office.
    All of them. We want to go to Heaven, they want to go to hell
    Not on our dime.

    The Lord's Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

  • keith

    http://www.wdbo.com/news/news/local/tennessee-home-burns-firefighters-watch/nFwtQ/
    Rural residents who want fire protection can get service from the nearby town of South Fulton, but they must pay a $75-a-year fee. South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said that if the city's firefighters responded to people who didn't pay there would be no incentive for anyone to subscribe. He said firefighters will help when people are in danger, regardless of whether they have paid.

  • keith

    What  they  should  probably do is this,   when  they call 911  the person  should be told  yes  we will  come and put out the fire   but you are going to foot the whole bill,  but  even that  will cause issues as many people will wait until they have a fire  and  pay  as they go,  it is still not  fair to the ones forced to pay  taxes on it. 

  • keith

    the  real  sad thing is   many cities are really  strapped for cash.  What is the first things  cities  cut from thier budget?  police (security) and fire protection.  easy targets.  so they  will eventually be withouut anyway.   the county  should  get their own firedepartments  but  probably can not afford it  so they  depend on getting a freebe from the nearest town , that has its own financial issues.

  • Anonymous

    what about paying taxes. why have to pay 75.00 Dumb ass hillbilies.