In Obion County, Tennessee, Gene Cranick, forgot to pay his yearly $75 fee to support the local fire department.  A bush nearby his house caught fire, later engulfing his house in flames.  When he called to have the fire dept. put out the fire, they informed him they wouldn't come out because the fire was not life-threatening.  It wasn't until the neighbors house became in danger(they paid the $75) that the fire dept. came to the scene.

Gene Cranick even told the fire dept. that he would pay  whatever it cost to have them come out.  He said, "I just forgot to pay my $75," he said. "I did it last year, the year before...It slipped my mind."

This devastating tragedy left the Cranick's house to burn to the ground and took the lives of their three dogs.

"So upset by the situation, Cranick’s son Timothy sought out the fire chief and punched him, according to police. He was charged with aggravated assault."

Now, I understand that in rural areas where there is a larger area for the fire dept. to cover, they need extra funds in order to run their stations.  I also understand that if the fire department came out to the put the fires out at homes who did not pay the annual fee, that no one would pay the fee in the future.  However, I think it's just wrong to require residents to pay for emergency services.  I feel like this situation never works, and there will always be the outliers who are too poor, or forgetful or just don't care about paying that extra $75 a year for the fire department.  There is a time and a place for privatization of public services, and emergency services is not one of them.

What do you think?

Read the full story here: newyorkdaily

ms mosif
10/10/2010 21:24

That is f*cked up. Plus, I'm confused. If the fee was required in order for emergency services to be provided, then why wasn't it just billed to the resident? It seems like leaving it up to individual households makes it waaay more likely that a situation like this would occur.

10/11/2010 00:21

Because they wanted the residents to pre-pay for services, so they could afford to run their station. I can see from that standpoint that the fire station needs the money upfront from residents so they can keep their trucks in good condition, hire a staff, etc. If they only got money from the residents when something happened, they probably couldn't afford to run the station.

Emergency services that require residents to pre-pay dictate that everyone collectively pays in the event that they possibly have an emergency. Not everyone every year is going to need a firefighter.

I understand why they do it this way, because in the rural areas where houses are more spread out, the government/state/federal emergency funding isn't enough to deal with the stations that are needed.

Apparently this happens all the time, especially in hard economic times when these residents are cutting budgets anyway they can, starting with those things that aren't immediately necessary (rent/mortgage, food, utilities)

Overall it just doesn't make sense to leave this up to individual homeowners. The state or national government needs to suck it up and provide additional emergency funds to these underfunded rural areas.


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    Carla Schechter

    Part-time superhero.  Currently unemployed.


    October 2010
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