Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Pay to Spray? Tiny Tennessee town watches house burn.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 6, 2010

This story resonates with me for several reasons, not the least of which is that I’m a Certified Volunteer Fire Fighter, Registered Nurse, EMT and fellow human being. According to one story, “The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.” See the fire department’s website here: http://www.CityOfSouthFulton.org/fire.htm


The Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico)
October 6, 2010

A tale from Tennessee is enough to make one appreciate taxes and their role in keeping a community safe.

Over in Obion County, Tenn., homeowners are asked to pay $75 a year for firefighting services from the city of South Fulton. However, one Gene Cranick didn’t pay — he told reporters that he thought the fire department would come anyway. Last week, his home caught on fire, only to burn to the ground as firefighters watched. Even though Cranick offered to pay whatever it would take to stop the blaze, he was told it was too late. The mayor of South Fulton said homeowners who don’t pay don’t get the service. Cranick chose to save 75 bucks, gambling against disaster, and he lost.

Meanwhile, a nearby neighbor did pay — and when Cranick’s flames jumped to the neighbor’s property, the firefighters responded promptly.

The first question that springs to mind is why anyone wouldn’t fork over $75 for fire protection. That’s dirt cheap. Secondly, why expect protection once you have chosen to pocket the money and go it alone? In this we’re-all-on-our-own, government-is-evil world, Cranick is an extreme example of the rugged individual forging, and losing, his own way.

But there’s more to consider than one family and one house. In this case, because firefighters let the blaze continue, Cranick’s neighbors were at risk. We can’t know all the reasons the fire department was ordered to watch as flames demolished Cranick’s house — perhaps too many of the county’s go-it-aloners weren’t paying up.

Still, the point that residents can’t expect free services could have been made short of total destruction. Firefighters could have extinguished the blaze and charged Cranick the entire cost of fighting the fire. Not only would Cranick have kept his home, the neighborhood would have been protected.

Necessary services — fire, police, health care and schools come quickly to mind — can’t be delivered on an opt-in basis. Government, that much-maligned creature, actually does a few things well, including protecting the life and liberty of its citizens. What happened in Tennessee underscores again that we are all in this together, no matter how much we think we can go it alone.

Copyright 2010 The Santa Fe New MexicanAll Rights Reserved
The Santa Fe New Mexican (New Mexico)

Wire News provided by LexisNexis.

2 Responses to “Pay to Spray? Tiny Tennessee town watches house burn.”

  1. […] Pay To Spray? Tiny Tennessee Town Watches House Burn. More » […]


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