fire department fee

Firefighters watch as house burns to ground, refuse to help because homeowner didn’t pay $75 bill

When the issue of privatized health insurance comes up and is discussed for a long enough time, it is inevitable that an analogy will be made to privatized fire departments and firefighters ignoring emergency calls.

That’s exactly what happened recently in a rural area of Tennessee, however, when a couple who hadn’t paid a $75 bill for fire services watched as their home burned to the ground. Firefighters refused to help as the free market worked, watching but not extinguishing the blaze. The couple frantically offered to pay the fee for services at the time of the blaze, but the fire department would not be swayed- acting only when the fire eventually spread to a neighboring house whose owners had paid the fee.

The owner of the home doesn’t blame the fire department, and the municipality’s mayor was unapologetic about the outcome of the situation:

“Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” Mayor David Crocker said.

Friends and neighbors said it’s a cruel and dangerous city policy but the Cranicks don’t blame the firefighters themselves. They blame the people in charge.

“They’re doing their job,” Paulette Cranick said of the firefighters. “They’re doing what they are told to do. It’s not their fault.”

It was also reported that “someone” assaulted one of the firefighters after they returned to the station, but it was unclear who did the assaulting or to what extent anyone was assaulted.

[Local news via snopes]