published Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Tennessee couple loses everything as firefighters watch home burn to the ground for want of a $75 fee

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SOUTH FULTON, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee couple has lost everything after their home burned to the ground as firefighters watched and did nothing.

Vicky Bell told WPSD-TV that she called 911 when her mobile home in Obion County caught fire. Firefighters responded but did not put out the blaze because she does not subscribe to the local fire service.

Bell says she could "look out my mom's trailer and see the trucks sitting at a distance."

Rural residents who want fire protection can get service from the nearby town of South Fulton, but they must pay a $75-a-year fee. South Fulton Mayor David Crocker said that if the city's firefighters responded to people who didn't pay there would be no incentive for anyone to subscribe. He said firefighters will help when people are in danger, regardless of whether they have paid.

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Ray_Warner said...

This is a joke. What the hell are property taxes for? Shame on those firefighters!Shame on Mayor David Crocker! Shame on the whole town of South Fulton TN!

December 6, 2011 at 1:58 p.m.
allenwilliams10 said...

DO your homework Ray, county taxes does not pay for firefighters. If you want that, then move to the city. Grants pay for the volunteer fire fighters. Also, as a former firefighter, I can tell you that no one knows who pays the $75 dollar fee. We rush there and take care of business. Prob what happened is by the time the fire truck got there the trailer was a total loss. A mobile home can burn to the ground in four to twenty minutes. I am sure that the owners of the home are hurt, scared and mad. Why not try and get both sides of the story instead of pointing fingers over a story that is only one persons point of view. Tell me, do you really think that someone would just sit there and watch as someone's life is being destroyed?

December 6, 2011 at 2:19 p.m.
tcscpa said...

It's like insurance right? Just like all the volunteer fire departments in our area, there is a fee. Also the way I read this story, the fire department is in the city and the fire victims are in the county. I don't expect the City of Chattanooga to come put out my fire in Dallas Bay. This is so typical of America right now; "I want someone else to pay for me." If they want people to risk their lives saving their stuff; pay the piper; responsible people do!

December 6, 2011 at 2:35 p.m.
vaughn15 said...

Sadly, the family pets perished in this family. It truly seems inhumane to me to allow a fire to take a house down when it could be prevented. I'm sure there would be folks to pitch in and pay the fee had they known...whatever happened to caring for one's neighbor. Shamefully, this is the way things are in our America. I'm appalled.

December 6, 2011 at 3:50 p.m.
vaughn15 said...

I did a little checking; seems the same thing happened in this area in 2010.

December 6, 2011 at 3:54 p.m.
maryjanicep said...

Really sad and unchristian. Mh do burn fast and usually are a total loss. Hope they had insurance. Nothing can replace pets. I would try almost as hard to get my pets as I would to get my children.

December 6, 2011 at 4:02 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

I guess maybe they will pay the fee next time. Hard lesson to learn, but they shouldn't expect fire protection for free. Those of us who live in city limits pay property taxes for our fire protection. If you don't, and you don't pay the fee, why would you expect the fire department to come to your aid?

December 6, 2011 at 4:11 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

If the FF were there and just stood around, shame on them. Deal with the fees later.

December 6, 2011 at 4:23 p.m.
Lr103 said...

People will have to come together. There was a time once upon a time where neigbhor looked out for neighbor. What would the impact be if people in the area created a money pool and opened a special account where they put in only $2.00 bucks a week? This fund would go a long way in paying this $75.00 annual fee. The money pool could be voluntary, of course. Just $2.00 a week would more than pay for that annual $75.00 with money left over.

December 6, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
DeerSlayer said...

I feel bad for the people because they lost everything, but my god just pay the fee and than you wouldn't have to worry about your house fire not being put out. Like someone else above stated thats what's wrong with this country. Everyone is always just wanting hand outs. It's $75 a year, pay the damn fee!

December 6, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
Momus said...

This is what 'smaller government' looks like. Just imagine when hospitals start the same pratices. Police departments, etc.

December 6, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
fairmon said...

Total your car with no insurance and it is a loss. Die with no insurance and the family pays or you go to a pauper grave. They could fund the fire department with increased taxes but people would raise a fuss about that. The FD was probably watching in case a subscriber's dwelling was threatened. Respond to those not subscribing would kill any incentive to subscribe. It is similar to those that could afford it but don't have health care insurance, they go to the ER and get free care at the expense of others.

December 6, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
MoonpieJenkins said...

This is downright shameful and sad. Its ridiculous to say that responding would kill any incentive to subscribe. Put out the fire and send them a BILL!!! Its completely different than totaling a car or life insurance. Nobody can step in with a hose and save a totaled car or save funeral expenses with water. This fee is NOT insurance. Its a way to pay the FD expenses. So BILL THEM!! Thats what the ER does when people dont have health insurance. How despicable, callous, cruel and cold-hearted. Political pompous baloney.

December 6, 2011 at 5:28 p.m.
Jemmy said...

This is what "small government" and greed and indifference looks like. A glimpse of Newt Gingrich's America.

December 6, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
nowfedup said...

Not only is it disgusting that a fire dept would sit and watch a fire, but more so that such a "system" even exists. Seems gov has a responsibility for cops and fire, scary that basic protections are now on "fee" basis,anywhere. And as for those that kind of say "Well to bad as etc etc", seems not all the bottom scum in ponds, and a happy christian holiday to you lovely low life that no doubt attend on Sunday etc, your god must be ashamed you even mention him or her. Some of the posts are Icons of the hater, bitterness and "me" that is ripping this once great nation apart.

December 6, 2011 at 9:45 p.m.
Oz said...

Volunteer Fire Departments are funded by their subscription fee. If you do not support them, do not expect them to support you. If they had put this fire out. The homeowner would tell their friends and family about getting free service without paying and soon no one would be paying.

The City of Chattanooga includes fire protection with property taxes. If you live in Hamilton County and live outside of the city limits. You better pay your subscription fee to your local volunteer fire department or you could be next. Your insurance company probably won't payoff without proof of a paid subscription either.

December 6, 2011 at 9:51 p.m.
Oz said...

Jemmy... It has nothing to do with small government or greed. Obama is the president now. It happened under his watch. Do you blame? I don't. You get what you pay for. The mobile home owner was greedy with their $75. It's called the real world.

December 6, 2011 at 10:06 p.m.
kdpslions said...

We live in Middle Valley. We pay Dallas Bay fire department i think $60 a year for their service. I hate to sound mean but pay the fee. Is your home not worth $75 bucks a year. Gee whats wrong with people want something for free. It was their decision now they have to live with. It is a hard lesson to learn. Everyone learn from it (pay the fee). To many bleeding heart in this country. It is ok to help others but we should help the ones who want to help themselves first.

December 6, 2011 at 11:05 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

We have a problem in this country with too many people wanting something for nothing. Pay the fee or learn your lesson the hard way. If I neglect to pay my insurance company the premiums for coverage and wreck my car, tough luck for me. Reality sure is a b!+ch.

December 7, 2011 at 12:03 a.m.
VoiceOfTruth said...

I live in Soddy-Daisy. Our fire department is totally volunteer. We don't have to pay a yearly fee for fire service. The firefighters should have tried to put the fire out and then worry about collecting the $75. When you are involved in an accident and an ambulance is called - the ambulance driver doesn't collect the charge up front. They take you to the nearest medical facility and then invoices you for the charge. And for all of you who are critical because they didn't pay the fee, some people have a very difficult time putting food on their tables, clothes on their back, and gas in their vehicles. Having to 'cough up' $75 might be as difficult for them as it would be to come up with $1,000,000 for most. If there is a fund set up to help this family, I'd like to contribute.

December 7, 2011 at 7:06 a.m.
ctfpfan08 said...


December 7, 2011 at 8:45 a.m.
mommyboots said...

If this is true, and not a case of "the trailer was a lost cause by the time the firefighters got there", it's despicable. To those people saying "OH MY GOD JUST PAY THE FEE", for some people out there it's not that simple. Some people can literally not afford an extra $75 from their budget. If you can, count your blessings that you aren't forced to make the choice between paying a fee that protects you and your home from a fire and feeding and clothing your children. Nevermind how I feel about having to pay for a service such as firefighting, the real issue that makes me angry is that the firefighters couldn't put the fire out and worry about the fee later. Charge them, send a bill, or something. If this truly was a matter of not paying a fee, and not just a home too far consumed by fire to be helped, then shame on this fire department.

December 7, 2011 at 8:53 a.m.
illinoisboy_85 said...

ok, so why not bill them after you put the fire out..? that makes more sense, good thing i live in illinois....

December 7, 2011 at 10:18 a.m.
Humphrey said...

somebody is going to end up getting killed this way.

December 7, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
patriot1 said...

I'll bet there is some insurance company in that town that will just sit there and not offer to pay for this family to replace their loss...when you know the insurance company has the money. The folks could always pay the insurance premium later. Sorry, that's not how it works, it's called risk.

December 7, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.
BravesDave said...

That's "guvmint cheez."

December 7, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
Littleoleme2 said...

A couple of things.

If they couldn't afford the fee, then they couldn't pay the bill either.

The system is not new. Its been around for over twenty years and other homes have burned to the ground while the fire department stood watching. They knew it could happen to them.

The county has no fire services. The nearby city does but has offered to provide services to county residences that pay a fee. Its sort of like our library--want a book and don't pay city taxes--pay a fee.

I feel sorry for these folks, but they should have paid. If they would have saved 5 or 6 dollars a month, they could have paid the fee. It was a foolish gamble.

It reminds me of people without renters insurance. What will cost to replace everything you own?

December 7, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.
myopinion101 said...

Pay the fee! If you can't pay it, get rid of your pets that you have to provide for. That would save you some money! Ask for help, if you know there is a fee, so your personal property can be safe. But, instead, poor me! I didn't want to pay, now look what the 'system' has done to me!!! Don't expect for everybody else to pay for your stuff. Like someone said earlier, people don't have insurance, but expect to go to the hospital and have the BEST care for nothing. They die or someone in their family gets killed, and they expect someone to come to their rescue and pay for funeral expenses and burial. Lets face it folks, we're all going to die, so be prepared. Take care of yourself, don't expect the government to always be there to take care of you. The working people are going to get tired real, real soon of taking care of lazy, shiftless people who only hang around on street corners all day and wouldn't work in a pie factory tasting pies!!!

December 7, 2011 at 12:38 p.m.
ginagirl43 said...

Wow. What a sense of entitlement people have now. Pay the fee. Why do you bleeding hearts out there say this isn't fair? Based on what? Rubbish.

December 7, 2011 at 6:06 p.m.
Momus said...

pay the damn fee!

If you do not support them, do not expect them to support you.

To many bleeding heart in this country

Reality sure is a b!+ch.

Just a few quotes from our Christian brothers and sisters during this Christmas season.

December 8, 2011 at 6:37 a.m.
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