This is totally messed up. A local NBC channel reports on how in Obion County, Tennessee rural residents are required to pay a $75 annual surcharge to receive coverage from the local fire department. Those that don’t pay the subscription are not supposed to receive service. Well, the policy which was introduced in the county in the 90s was put to the test last week:
Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won’t respond, then watches it burn. That’s exactly what happened to a local family tonight. A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.
The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.
Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.
The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.
This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn’t put it out. It wasn’t until that fire spread to a neighbor’s property, that anyone would respond.
Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.
“I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong,” said Gene Cranick.
Because of that, not much is left of Cranick’s house.
They called 911 several times, and initially the South Fulton Fire Department would not come.
It was only when a neighbor’s field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn’t.
We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception.
“Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” Mayor David Crocker said.
Think Progress picks up the story, tying the episode to the question of what vision of governance Americans want for their country, as well as adding some information to the story like this gem:
Ironically, in the county commission’s latest report on its fire services, which outlines which parts of the municipal area will receive fire services only through subscriptions, the commissioners and fire service officials brag that the county is “very progressive.”
You can’t make this stuff up. They also note that conservative bloggers and opinion journalists at the National Review – one of, if not the primary print magazine of conservative opinion in America – have nearly uniformly lined up to suggest that the firefighters made the right decision! National Review reactions includes “comparing the family whose home was destroyed to “jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates”” and jokingly deriding the one staff writer that questions the fire department’s decision (“No solace to the homeowner, but an important lesson for compassionate conservatives like our own Dan Foster (Zing!)“). Full coverage of the National Review response by Think Progress here.