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Firefighters Watch as Family's Home Burns Down

Posted: 10-05-10Category:

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 in Tennessee. 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. The fire reportedly continued 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” only because the neighbor had paid the fee. A local newspaper further pressed Mayor Crocker about the city’s policy, which has been in place since 1990. Crocker, a Republican who was elected in 2008 and serves with a county commission where every County seat is filled by a Republican, likened the county's policy policy of providing fire fighting services only to subscribers to buying auto insurance--you only get the service if you purchase the subscription. Is this the kind of society we want? A society where only those who can afford to pay a subscription fee are entitled to fire fighting services? And just how far will the subscription policy extend? What if there had been a child trapped in the burning home? (in reality, there were three family pets inside the Obion County home which perished while the firemen watched) . What about EMS Services? Will EMS Personnel be required to watch people who don't pay the subscription fee die by the side of the road after an accident? Will the same policy apply to police services? Will the police charge a subscription fee and then watch while non-subscribers are robbed, assaulted or murdered? Once you buy into the idea of a subscription based society, where do you draw the line? Just imagine the moral conflict that this puts the First Responders in--do what is morally right (put out the fire) or do what the rule says (watch it burn to the ground). Emergency Service First Responders--firefighters, EMS personnel and police--should not be forced into situations like this. It is completely unfair to the Emergency Responders.

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