This item made the news the week of 10/4, creating a surge of opinions from both the right and the left. Here’s the brief recap:
Gene Cranick of
, lost his home to a fire on Sept. 29, 2010. While firefighters were called, they would not respond, as the family had not paid a $75 fire-fighting subscription fee to the City of Obion County, TN . Mr. Cranick offered to pay the fee, or whatever it took, but was refused. Firefighters did respond, however, to the call from an adjoining neighbor, who feared the fire would spread to his property (they had paid the subscription fee). Water was sprayed along the property line, but pleas from Mr. Cranick to put out his home fire went unheeded. Again, Mr. Cranick said he would pay the fee, but the firefighters were under orders not to assist if their subscription fee had not been paid. The Cranick family lost their home, all their possessions, 3 dogs and a cat. South Fulton
So in our news cycle, this story was popular a couple of weeks ago, but has now vanished from the public eye. For the Cranick family, however, this will be a big deal for them every day, for months to come.
Questions that come to mind are these:
Should residents have an option to pay for fire service, or should it be a mandatory line item on each resident’s tax bill? Should the fee be distributed among all county residents, thus lowering the cost for everyone, but making sure that everyone was protected?
What ethics and/or morals were involved when firefighters were on the scene but would not put out a burning building? What if there were people inside – would they still refuse to respond because a $75 fee had not been paid? Could the fire department have charged the fee plus a penalty for responding to a non-subscriber?
When it comes to an emergency, I don’t think it’s correct to say that someone “got what they deserve” in this “no-pay, no-spray” scenario. It would seem that there is a better way to make sure all residents have access to emergency services. Perhaps, just from a human standpoint, if we have the means to help someone in trouble, we should do so.