No Pay, No Spray...Firefighters let house burn!!

[deleted account] ( 50 moms have responded )

Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee.



Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat.



"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 fire started when the Cranicks' grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.



"We wasn't on their list," he said the operators told him.



Cranick, who lives outside the city limits, admits he "forgot" to pay the annual $75 fee. The county does not have a county-wide firefighting service, but South Fulton offers fire coverage to rural residents for a fee.



Cranick says he told the operator he would pay whatever is necessary to have the fire put out.



His offer wasn't accepted, he said.



The fire fee policy dates back 20 or so years.



"Anybody that's not inside the city limits of South Fulton, it's a service we offer. Either they accept it or they don't," said South Fulton Mayor David Crocker.



Firefighters did eventually show up, but only to fight the fire on the neighboring property, whose owner had paid the fee.



"They put water out on the fence line out here. They never said nothing to me. Never acknowledged. They stood out here and watched it burn," Cranick said.



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.



Cranick, who is now living in a trailer on his property, says his insurance policy will help cover some of his lost home.



"Insurance is going to pay for what money I had on the policy, looks like. But like everything else, I didn't have enough."



After the blaze, South Fulton police arrested one of Cranick's sons, Timothy Allen Cranick, on an aggravated assault charge, according to WPSD-TV, an NBC station in Paducah, Ky.



Police told WPSD that the younger Cranick attacked Fire Chief David Wilds at the firehouse because he was upset his father's house was allowed to burn.



WPSD-TV reported that Wilds was treated and released.



© 2010 msnbc.com Reprints



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39516346/ns/...



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Laura - posted on 10/29/2010

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Sorry folks, but I disagree. The laws about the fire protection services were quite clear and this gentleman chose not to pay for the services (he claimed he "forgot"). One article I read said that he didn't like the fee because he saw it as a "tax". Having family and friends on local fire departments, I know that each time they go out on a call it cost money--not just for the firefighters, but for fuel and the equipment. These services are expensive and most fire departments are having budgets squeezed to the breaking point. This was an optional service that folks outside of the town limits could purchase and this person chose not to purchase said services. That's the reality...

Barb - posted on 11/01/2010

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LOL. Somehow now i see Toni with a little red firehouse at the edge of her property just ready to spring into action anytime there's smoke. sorry LOL

I did some googling and found this interesting article and video on the same incident.
The neighbor's house wasn't affected, just his property (looks like a bean field) And from the video it looks like they were burning trash in 2 barrels and they said it took the fire two HOURS to get from the barrels to the shed, it caught the shed on fire and then the shed caught the peoples house on fire.

Was no one watching while they were burning trash? And look at how close the shed is to the barrels.

I burn trash in a barrel, my barrel sits about 40 ft from any buildings. i don't burn when it's windy, and i sit there while it burns and i stir it. until it is done. You never leave a fire unattended.

Further down in the article it will give a break down of expenses for fire departments and it also says what local elections have decided on this matter AFTER this happened.

Here is the link: http://pysih.com/2010/10/20/update-the-s...

Leah - posted on 10/31/2010

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Who say's this guy wouldn't expect the car insurance company to pay out? He expected that the firefighters put the fire out when he didn't pay the $75 fee. Its his fault he didn't pay the fee, he put the lives of his family and pets at stakes for not paying it and should thank god that no else was hurt because of his irresponsibliy. And Toni, if in your example, your car was stolen and you didn't pay the fee, I doubt the police would step in. YOU didn't pay the fee, you made a gamble and lost. The article makes a good point, if they allowed everyone to pay the fee only when THEIR house catches on fire, no body would pay the fee and the fire house would be shut down due to lack of funds. HE took the risk and paid dearly for it. And Jessica, I also consider pets family and would be heartbroken if this happened to me, but thats why I don't gamble with my families lives and pay my house, car and munipical fees every month.

Amber - posted on 10/30/2010

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Actually, the government can be sued for negligence(through the FTCA)...it is a difficult process to go through, but it is possible. And I think that if I were the neighbor I would go through the process. Not to receive monetary damages, but to initiate a reason for the current laws to be changed.

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Brie - posted on 11/02/2010

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what is this world coming to?? aren't they supposed to protect and serve??? sounds like they suck at it!!! the mayor is a dick and so are those firefighters!

Leah - posted on 11/01/2010

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Opps, can't get the article/video at work (dam nazi's blocking my internet access, grrr) but very interesting to find out more details on the fire. Makes me feel even less sorry for him (insert evil laugh here ;D). The $500 fine sounds like a good idea in theroy but like you guys pointed out, there are some people that just don't bother paying. Sounds like there should be some changes made to the policies and I hope after this that the issue will be given a hard look at.
And Barb, its spelt colour ;D

[deleted account]

I found that interesting too, hopefully that will help people remember, although I know not everyone will pay whether it is compulsory or not, as our council tax is compulsory and there are still people who do not pay.

Barb - posted on 11/01/2010

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LOL Toni, Check and Mate.

That is a good point, they could do that. And i think someone pointed out in this thread earlier the possibility of going to jail if the fee wasn't paid.

I also thought it was interesting to read in the article that they expanded the pay to spray service throughout the county and now require everyone in the county to pay.

Maybe making it a requirement will help keep this from happening again and write laws of what to do if it does happen.

[deleted account]

I'll check on you sometime but I won't give you a check that is just wrong ;-D.

I know but with fines at least they have the choice of taking them to court and actioning the fines or giving jail time if they don't pay (I know they do in the UK anyway). So it is their fault if they do not action that.

"I know hindsight is 20/20, but when the shed caught on fire, i'd be putting my pets in the car and keeping them a safe distance away."

I completely agree Barb!

Barb - posted on 11/01/2010

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Toni, Google knows EVERYTHING!! bwhahahaha

I noticed in the article it also stated that many times the $500 fee goes unpaid and the recent economic crisis was cited. It didn't state it directly, but it maybe the city council saw how much money they were loosing by never getting paid the $500 fine.

I was confused by that in the article as well. I thought i had read at some point that other fire depts did respond."so five surrounding municipalities respond as needed, with three others responding only to subscribers" This would mean to me that Two should have responded because they were "as needed"

I understand what you are saying and what they could've done, if not for these people, but for the benefit of the community as a whole. It does appear that by the time anyone responded this was too far gone for anyone to do any good.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but when the shed caught on fire, i'd be putting my pets in the car and keeping them a safe distance away.

And i like the American spelling. Check, less letters. :) quicker haha... i also like to color hehe

[deleted account]

Barb, How did you know? Are you watching me now? *looks over my shoulder* lol

That was a really interesting read and video. I can see your point of view on this but I will always think that the actions were wrong. The article states that some of the local fire departments do go out to fires and then issue a $500 fee after the event so I don't see why this fire department couldn't do that or even fine them for ALL the years they have 'forgot' to pay (if it is above the $500 otherwise they get $500) so they are punished without it affecting others properties and fields.

Oh and I completely agree you should NEVER leave a fire unattended, on the odd occasion we have one my hubby will try and leave it with burning embers when we go to sleep. I make him go and completely douse the fire and the embers BEFORE we go to bed. Leaving a fire is asking for trouble. They said that water wasn't working, they should have dug troughs and doused them with water to try and reduce the spread rather than just spraying the flames.

Leah - posted on 11/01/2010

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Lmao Toni! No "I" will accept a cheque! ;) (btw are you Canadian too? Or from the UK? Love how we spell 'cheque' differently than the Americans! :D)

[deleted account]

Hey Barb, I expect my fire fighters to have some idea how the fire will spread and be able to limit the risk. What can I say I expect a lot :-)

Barb - posted on 11/01/2010

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Toni, you are right, i missed your point about the neighbors house being effected by the fire because they didn't do a preemptive strike on the fire before it did damage to their property. I was arguing my point, and you were arguing yours.

[deleted account]

Hey if I lived in that community I would already have it marked on the calander to pay the fee, I am so anal about paying my bills, it worries me about what if I forget to pay and I need the ... whatever it may be. Thank-goodness for direct debits and standing orders :-)

Oooo and I'll accept a cheque as payment lmao ;-)

Leah - posted on 11/01/2010

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We'll have to see who owes who then eh? ;)
I know if I lived in his community and was one of the people that forgets to pay the fee, I would dam well make sure of it to mark it on the calendar and put it in my blackberry to remind me to pay the fee.
And I'll have to do some more concrete digging on this, but I'm fairly confident that police, paramedics and firefighters have to take an oath when they are sworn in that make them responsible if they see someone who's life is at risk, to help them. If they let a person burn, there would be an outrage. But no, we will never know for sure what would have happened. But as for this situation, I stand by my opinion and that is that.

[deleted account]

Leah I realise that people are giving their opinion but Barb did miss my point I wasn't saying they had a duty to protect the man who didn't pay the fee but they do have a duty to protect those who have. They may have come to the neighbours aid but the fire should never had gotten THAT far, it shouldn't have touched his property!

"And I'm sure if there we people in the house, they wouldn't have just stood by, as their duty mandates."

We don't know if they would though do we...

I would bet my salary that some people will 'forget' to pay the fee again because THAT is human nature!

Leah - posted on 11/01/2010

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Toni, you keep saying people are missing the point but we are giving our opinions. In your example;
"what if the person who stole the car does not have a drivers license or what if they are high/ drunk INNOCENT people are at risk and the police have a duty to protect them".
They did protect innocent people by coming to the aid of the guy's neighbor. And I'm sure if there we people in the house, they wouldn't have just stood by, as their duty mandates. THAT would be horrifying. But to risk their lives to save the cats and dogs for a guy that didn't find it necessary to pay the fee, well, that's just the way it is. And I'll bet my salary that no one else in that county will 'forget' to pay their fee again. No one thinks it will happen to them and too bad so sad it did. He shouldn't have been so irresponsible. Sorry Toni, you won't be able to change my mind.

[deleted account]

Barb you have missed my point entirely. They have a DUTY to protect the people who pay for their services and if that requires them to put a fire out next door then they should do that. Why is it so hard to see that INNOCENT people have been affected who should NEVER have been affected! So say for example, they didn't use the plane for your mom because somebody else in the next cubicle had NOT paid their insurance and needed the same type of treatment, that would be wrong because your mom paid her fee, they have a duty to protect her.

Barb - posted on 11/01/2010

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a few years back my mom had a brain anuerism that burst and bled onto her brain. She was visiting friends about 8 hrs from Los Angeles. The winds were too high for the helicopter and they flew her by jet to santa monica air port and then transported her to ucla med center. I was talking with her dr while she was changing mom's central iv and said. "i can't imagine what these bills are going to be, 3 weeks in icu, the jet ride, the surgeries, etc" the dr said, "Insurance will cover it. Your mom wouldn't have been brought here by jet if her insurance didn't cover it, the hospital there would have done the best they could for her before she passed."

We all have a 'duty' up to a certain point. He had a "duty" to pay his fire fee. The dr's have a duty up to the point where insurance doesn't cover the cost of their duty anymore (american healthcare woo hoo) If the insurance didn't pay should the dr's duty been to pitch in and pay for mom's jet ride to keep her alive? (btw, mom is 100% back to her old bitter self)

Fighting a fire is dangerous business, should the firemen have risked there lives when the homeowner couldn't even be bothered to pay his $75 fee?

I don't know about this guy's area in Tennessee, but here they make every effort for you to pay that fee. You can pay $10 a month for 7 to 8 months, or 3 payments of $25.00. Or the firefighters have even been known to take a collection for people who can't pay.

It would be interesting to find out how many people in his county pay this $75 fee and what actions the local fire depart does to encourage people to pay this fee (ie fish frys, fund raisers, charity work, community awareness, etc)

But the long and short of it is; If the citizens of that county want it mandatory, they will/should make it mandatory. Maybe this is how it works for everyone but this guy.

[deleted account]

Leah you are not looking at the bigger picture, they HAVE to step in because they have a DUTY to the people who have paid their fees to protect them and their property. For your example, what if the person who stole the car does not have a drivers license or what if they are high/ drunk INNOCENT people are at risk and the police have a duty to protect them as the fire fighters had a duty to protect the neighbours who had paid their fees and they didn't until the fire affected them.

Yes the law is wrong that is plain to see as has been pointed out before the law needs changing to either make the fee compulsory or to include it in a larger fee such as our council tax.

Jessica - posted on 10/31/2010

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The guy fucked up therefore the peoples whos job it is to put the fire out are off the hook morally for letting those animals burn?? I don't think so, there is right and wrong and this is simply a case of greed winning over what the right thing to do was. Still disgusting.

Lyndsay - posted on 10/31/2010

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Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. Like they just let someones house burn to the ground, with pets inside. Don't these people have a code of ethics they should be following? Greedy fucking bastards.

[deleted account]

Leah that is not a fair comparison because if you did not buy car insurance sure you wouldn't expect them to pay up if your car got totalled. I think a fairer comparison would be the police NOT stepping in as you hadn't paid the fees, and if my car was stole I would expect the police to step in regardless of whether or not I had paid the fees because of the risk to INNOCENT people. The fire not only had the potential to affect INNOCENT people, it did affect INNOCENT people, so the firefighters SHOULD have stepped in.

Jessica - posted on 10/31/2010

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Forgetting to pay your car insurance doesn't kill life....letting the fire burn took 5 lives...and in my books, animals are family to.

Leah - posted on 10/31/2010

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I read this for the first time yesterday and at first I was outraged but now that I've thought about it, I kind of understand a little bit more. Say, for example, you didn't pay for your car insurance and your grandson totalled your car. Would you call the insurance company to make a claim and then get pissed that they don't pay out? Same logic. He took a gamble by not paying the fee that his house wouldn't burn down and guess what, he lost. How can you 'forget' to pay? Do you forget to pay your car insurance?

Jessica - posted on 10/31/2010

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Wow..I'm surprised at people saying this was ok because it's the law, some laws are retarded, whatever happend to compassion...fuck..fine the shit out of the family if your so damn worried about money, but don't just let the home burn and the animals in it, disgusting...this is yet another reason I think our race for the most is pathetic...

[deleted account]

"Now if you want to talk about this situation being unjust, unfair or even immoral, I would probably agree with you."

If a situation is unjust, unfair and immoral it is not appropriate for it to continue therefore allowing this house to burn to the ground IS not appropriate. Yes laws need to be changed nobody is disagreeing with that. BUT as Amber said what IF there had been a person in there would they still have allowed it to burn down JUST because the $75 fee was not paid, that would be classed as manslaughter and is not appropriate. We have laws to protect animals and allowing them to burn to death is NOT part of those laws!

Ashley - posted on 10/30/2010

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Though's bastards man over 75 bucks you have to be kidding i would want to kick there ass to. The man's home was burning down and the pore animals i think that is absulutly horrible they are supposed to be about helping people not freaken 75 dollers it would be on thing if this guy owed them thousands but seriously Imagen all the photos and things that that pore family lost any way i think its uniscusable and if i was the family members of thoughs fire fighters i would be disgusted.

[deleted account]

Toni, I know our council tax is in theory our fee but it just seems wierd paying it directly to the fire station that's all lol! That would be like paying to the police station for that service and so on.

Laura - posted on 10/30/2010

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I have to disagree with you Toni. It was appropriate to allow the house to burn (pets included, unfortunately) because the Fire department would have broken the law to do otherwise. Now if you want to talk about this situation being unjust, unfair or even immoral, I would probably agree with you. Unjust, unfair or immoral practices can be remedied with corrective legislation.

I would like to point out that there are no Federal standards for how fire deparments act or operate. Most states don't even have a set of state standards. The vast majority of fire departments are either incorporated (run as an independent business) or controlled by a city/town or township/county government. Without standard regulations (created by legislation), these fire departments are free to create the laws that they operate by.

Amber, the only lawsuit that could come from this incedent is if the neighbor sues the guy without fire service protection--he could be considered "negligent" because he didn't pay the fee for fire protection. You can't sue the government (or it's entities) and I believe this fire department is operated by the nearby town.

Amber - posted on 10/30/2010

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The neighbor could sue the fire department for allowing a fire from another property to grow so out of control that it damaged their own property....There is a lawsuit here, it's just all about angles :)
And I really hope that they make the fee mandatory in the future. It is easy to forget a bill that you don't HAVE to make until it is too late.
I live in the country too, and we have no fees to pay for our fire department. It's included in our taxes. It would be easy to include the fees for these people in their taxes also, that way it could not be forgotten.
I also wonder what they would have done if there was a person inside instead of animals?

[deleted account]

Laura, I understand that but it is still not appropriate to allow someones home and pets burn to the ground, and as I keep pointing out the neighbours property was affected by the fire and it should not have been. As that neighbour I would be furious and looking to take action, THAT property should never have been affected by the fire!

Jennifer our fee IS our council tax, we have to pay it although if we don't we still receive the services and go to jail. So it's not really that odd that they have a fee.

[deleted account]

I grew up out in the country in Ohio. Each township that's not in city limits has volunteer fire fighters (my dad is one of them). They do fundraisers and such to raise money. There was never a fee. That seems very strange. How sad that they wouldn't go put the fire out. That's so wrong. I don't believe that emergency situations like this one are the same as just not have insurance. Someone's life (or their animal's life) could be at stake. When your house is on fire you should be able to call and get help. What about the families that don't have $75? This law definitely needs changed.

[deleted account]

OMG you have to pay a fee to the fire fighters there...wierd. We just pay council tax which covers things like that. I'd say they should have put the fire out but then issued a fine on top of the payment they should have paid originally. I don't know how anyone could stand by and let a house burn down killing pets too!

Laura - posted on 10/29/2010

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Toni, I agree that the fee plus some sort of non-payment fine could have been (and could be, for future situations) assessed. The problem is that was not part of the existing law. The fire department was not permitted, by the existing law, to collect the fee at the time of service! Could that have helped? Of course! But that type of change to the existing law takes legislation! The folks in that area can petition there law makers to change the law, but until then, folks who don't pay there fire service fee take a risk.

Barb - posted on 10/29/2010

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I moved from town to the country about 8 years ago. We don't have fire hydrants out here, we have wells that only pump at 12 psi. We have a small town about two miles away that has a volunteer fire dept and every year they have a fish fry to raise money and to remind everyone to pay their fee. This is not exclusive to Tennessee. I'm in Indiana. Many counties do this, including mine and the surrounding ones. It isn't anything new.

The rural fire departments have greater challenges than city departments where they have city water, pressure and drains. Plus, if you do pay that fee, you have assurance of the city backing up the rural department AND (this is really going to upset some people) that covers ambulance rides too. That is right, if you live out in the county, especially anywhere near the county line, there is a fight as to who is going to come and help you medically. If you pay that fee, they know who you want to come and get you and you have faster service.
(i don't mean a fight as in who gets to, i mean a fight as in who has to)

However, i've known people who just drive themselves in because it's faster than waiting on the ambulance to find their county road. Aunt Kitty did it with a broken hip after she made her bed and called off afternoon bridge with her girlfriends. It was her left hip though. LOL

I feel bad for this guy's animals that suffered, but this guy took a gamble when he didn't pay that fee. It's like having homeowners insurance and then being angry when they don't cover your house when the river washes it away because you didn't pay the extra for flood insurance.

I'm sorry, but he was aware of the fee, he was aware of the consequences, he chose to take the risk and his family and pets suffered for it.

Alison - posted on 10/29/2010

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I think the real solution here is to make the fee obligatory.

If I were his insurer I wouldn't give him a dime either.

[deleted account]

Yes but Laura as Kelina said, in circumstances like the one in this article they could have a charge, nobody is suggesting the family should be able to use the service without paying the fee (that has been there for 20 years) BUT they could charge them the $75 fee plus a fine effectively, which covers the costs of the firefighters, use of equipment, fuel, and any other costs incurred by the fire department. Leaving someones home and pets to burn to the ground is spiteful and affected people whom if they had just put it out and charged the family it would not have affected!

[deleted account]

Problem is, there's really no way for anyone to sue because it's been a law for a long time (according to the article). But maybe this will make the lawmakers take that law out of the books. It's just sad, really sad.

Jackie - posted on 10/29/2010

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This makes me furious! People are so greedy! Over a stupid $75.00, everyone just let the family's home and pets burn to the ground out of spite. That's bullshit and I would sue the pants off of anybody that had anything to do with it. And good on the son that tried to beat the hell out of the leader of the pack. I wouldn't generally support violence, but damn man. That's just shameful

[deleted account]

Ugh, bunch of retards. It's like leaving someone to bleed to death because they have an outstanding medical bill... Seriously?

[deleted account]

THAT is disgusting, HOW could those firefighters, whose whole careers are vocations NOT just jobs, let someones home burn to the ground? By NOT putting the fire out they made it worse because they then had to deal with the neighbours property which should NEVER have been affected! Shameful

[deleted account]

I saw that on the news the other day and it made me nauseus. What ever happened to doing the right thing? There's no way in hell I would have just stood there and watched someone's home burn to the ground. I mean, what if there had been a person inside, instead of a cat or dog? Would they have gone in? I hope so.

Kelina - posted on 10/28/2010

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I'd be upset too if they were standing there letting my home burn with 3 dogs and a cat in it! I wouldn't be too worried about my possessions those can always be replaced. plus it would mean i'd no longer have to deal with all the boxes my MIL keeps bringing to my house lol, but if someone who was able to help let my animals burn i'd be furious. I can understand why they wouldn't put the house out, they're right if they let homeowners pay the fee on the spot, no one would pay it. But they could always charge them for the cost to go out there-the pay for the firefighters to be out there for however long, the charge for the gas there and back, a rental fee for the truck etc. I mean the guy told him he'd be willing to pay anything, and it probably would have been worth the lives of those animals.

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