Firemen watch house burn down

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Firemen watch house burn down

Postby Phoenix6570 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:09 am

Found this on Yahoo today http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101005/pl_yblog_upshot/rural-tennessee-fire-sparks-conservative-ideological-debate

Just about anything can be fodder for an ideological dispute these days. Just consider news of the recent fire at Gene Cranick's home in Obion County, Tenn.

Here's the short version of what happened: In rural Obion County, homeowners must pay $75 annually for fire protection services from the nearby city of South Fulton. If they don't pay the fee and their home catches fire, tough luck -- even if firefighters are positioned just outside the home with hoses at the ready.

Gene Cranick found this out the hard way.

When Cranick's house caught fire last week, and he couldn't contain the blaze with garden hoses, he called 911. During the emergency call, he offered to pay all expenses related to the Fire Department's defense of his home, but the South Fulton firefighters refused to do anything.

["Pay to spray" fire services: how they work]

They did, however, come out when Cranick's neighbor -- who'd already paid the fee -- called 911 because he worried that the fire might spread to his property. Once they arrived, members of the South Fulton department stood by and watched Cranick's home burn; they sprang into action only when the fire reached the neighbor's property.

"I hadn't paid my $75 and that's what they want, $75, and they don't care how much it burned down," Gene Cranick told WPSD, an NBC affiliate in Kentucky. "I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong."

Watch a video report:

The incident has sparked a debate in many corners of the Web. Writers for the National Review, arguably the nation's most influential right-leaning voice, have seized on the episode to discuss the relative merits of compassionate conservatism versus a hard-line libertarianism. (See their arguments here, here, here, here and here.)

[Australia's "stay and defend" policy: another ethical dilemma for firefighters]

Daniel Foster, a self-described "conservative with fairly libertarian leanings" who writes for the magazine, took issue with the county's laissez-faire approach to firefighting, calling it "a kind of government for which I would not sign up."

"What moral theory allows these firefighters (admittedly acting under orders) to watch this house burn to the ground when 1) they have already responded to the scene; 2) they have the means to stop it ready at hand; 3) they have a reasonable expectation to be compensated for their trouble?" Foster wrote.

[Elsewhere: Prince William helps make daring rescue with Royal Air Force]

But Foster's colleague Kevin Williamson took the opposite view. Cranick's fellow residents in the rural stretches of Obion County had no fire protection until the county established the $75 fee in 1990. As Williamson explained: "The South Fulton fire department is being treated as though it has done something wrong, rather than having gone out of its way to make services available to people who did not have them before. The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton's firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives."

Liberals are pouncing on the Cranick fire as an illustration of what they take to be the callous indifference of a market regime that rewards privileged interests over the concerns of ordinary Americans.

"The case perfectly demonstrated conservative ideology, which is based around the idea of the on-your-own society and informs a policy agenda that primarily serves the well-off and privileged," Think Progress' Zaid Jilani wrote in a response to the National Review writers. "It has been 28 years since conservative historian Doug Wead first coined the term 'compassionate conservative.' It now appears that if any such philosophy ever existed, it has few adherents in the modern conservative movement."


I cannot believe they stood by watching this mans house burn down. How can you live with yourself standing there knowing full well you can help him but refuse to over 75.00? They easily could've billed him but to let his house go over this is sickening. There is no justification for what these firefighters did.
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Re: Firemen watch house burn down

Postby Earl Butz » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:02 am

Yeah I heard that on the radio this morning. Fires and garbage collection are matters of public health and safety. Those should be on your property tax bill.

If they aren't, whole neighborhoods burn down and people just toss their garbage in a ditch somewhere. :roll:
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Re: Firemen watch house burn down

Postby Cajun » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:55 am

They DID bill him - he ignored the bill, and admitted to it. They TOLD him in advance that if he didn't PAY for the service, he would not GET the service. It's not fair to everyone who DID pay for the service....

The obvious problem here is the way that they set this up, using fire protection as a stand-alone service. Fire protection should be rolled into something like property or school taxes, where the homeowner has less of a "choice" in the matter.....

Sorry for sounding crass, but I'm a firm believer in playing by the rules - period. Trust me, the guy was surely sent a delinquency notice after the due date, and he ignored that as well.
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Re: Firemen watch house burn down

Postby buccoman » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:12 pm

Cajun wrote:They DID bill him - he ignored the bill, and admitted to it. They TOLD him in advance that if he didn't PAY for the service, he would not GET the service. It's not fair to everyone who DID pay for the service....

The obvious problem here is the way that they set this up, using fire protection as a stand-alone service. Fire protection should be rolled into something like property or school taxes, where the homeowner has less of a "choice" in the matter.....

Sorry for sounding crass, but I'm a firm believer in playing by the rules - period. Trust me, the guy was surely sent a delinquency notice after the due date, and he ignored that as well.



You can't legistlate morality. To watch the house burn down, and to do nothig to help, is immoral, imho. The owner may be stupid, and indignant, but he deserves. as does everyone, to be treated humanely.
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Re: Firemen watch house burn down

Postby furface » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:45 pm

Here are the facts of the story, which some people seem to be missing:

1. This farmer has not paid the $75 fee even once in the last 20 years.

2. Three years ago, he had a fire, which the fire department responded to and PUT OUT.

3. He was billed $500 because he was not a "subscriber".

4. He did not pay ONE CENT of that bill from THREE YEARS AGO.

5. He STARTED THE FIRE in his backyard and it got out of control over the time span of THIRTY MINUTES, yet he didn't rescue the animals from the house.

It may be true that he was 'betting against disaster,' however, when disaster did strike three years ago, he didn't pay what he owed.

How many times should the fire department respond to fires at this guys property and just bill it to the taxpayers of the town? Remember, this guy's property is not within the town, so he doesn't pay the taxes that support the fire department, that is the reason for the 'subscription' in the first place. And the county has no volunteer department in the area and has refused to work out an arrangement with the town cause it would raise the county taxes.

He's less a victim than a gambler who placed a bet and lost, big time.
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Re: Firemen watch house burn down

Postby nimby » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:41 pm

Ahhh, they reported the story very differently here. They said that he was an older gentleman who always paid this bill in the past, just forgot this year. Hmm...
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