I talk a lot on this blog about holding public shelters accountable. Like most of our taxpayer funded services, shelter workers would be my heroes if they just did their jobs. Anything above and beyond the call of duty – I’d worship them as gods! Firefighters are another taxpayer funded group who get to be heroes simply by doing their jobs. I truly do appreciate all of the public services we often take for granted in this country – clean drinking water, education, roads, etc.
Unfortunately for the people of Obion Co, TN, they do not have a taxpayer funded fire department. Perhaps some people there – the types who are always complaining about paying taxes – think that’s a good thing since it’s one less tax. The fire department for the city of South Fulton offers service to rural residents in Obion Co for an annual fee of $75.
Gene Cranick’s family lives in Obion Co. When his grandson was burning trash last week, the fire got out of control. Mr. Cranick called 911 but was informed he had forgotten to pay his annual $75 fee and as such, wasn’t on “the list”. Mr. Cranick offered to pay any amount of money required to get the firefighters to come to his home. Nope.
Eventually the fire spread to his neighbor’s property. His neighbor had sent in the $75 fee so the South Fulton fire department came and doused the flames that had leapt into the neighbor’s yard. When they were finished, they stood around, watching the Cranick family home burn to the ground and presumably hearing the 4 pets inside being burned alive.
“They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn’t do it,” Cranick told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.
The city of South Fulton stands by the actions of the firefighters:
South Fulton’s mayor said that the fire department can’t let homeowners pay the fee on the spot, because the only people who would pay would be those whose homes are on fire.
Fair point. Except we’re not talking about something less than a family’s home, all their worldly possessions, and 4 beloved – living, breathing – pets. How could this have happened?
Last month, I did some grocery shopping, packed up my car with the bags and found it wouldn’t start. I was stranded. Although I would have liked to have renewed my old AAA membership when it expired several years ago, it just hasn’t worked out financially. I called them that day and asked if I could renew. They said sure and asked if I needed service that day. If so, there would be an extra $40 fee in addition to the membership renewal fee. That seems fair. Couldn’t the South Fulton fire department offer something like that? I mean, we’re talking about a family home with pets inside burning to the ground. Hullo! Where is the love? Is this how Americans treat each other now?
Let’s be clear: Firefighters were on the scene of the Cranick family home with means to put out the fire and prevent the 4 pets inside from burning to death. They did nothing. Over an unpaid $75 fee.
Afterwards, Mr. Cranick’s son was arrested for assaulting the fire chief at the firehouse.