In the news recently was a story about the Cranick family in Tennessee that watched their house burn down because they didn’t pay a $75 fee for fire protection services from a local fire company, but that isn’t the whole story…
The Cranick family lives in Obion County, which does not offer fire protection services to its residents. A near-by city, South Fulton, offers fire protection to area residents that live up to 5 miles outside their normal fire protection area, namely the city of South Fulton, for a nominal annual fee of $75. The Cranicks choose not to pay the fee, though some neighbors did.
Every year, during the month of June, the city of South Fulton solicits nearby residents without fire protection to sign-up for protection from the South Fulton fire department for $75. Those that don’t respond to the mailer are then personally contacted via phone calls to offer them the fire protection service.
The leaders of South Fulton passed legislation barring the South Fulton firefighters from putting out fires at residences that declined coverage. That legislation was revisited in July of 2008 when a similar event happened (a county home that choose not to subscribe to the fire protection service offered by the near-by city of South Fulton burned down).
The city of South Fulton has offered this courtesy service since 1990.
The Cranick house caught fire after a garbage fire got out of control and started burning their house. Repeated calls to 911 for the South Fulton fire department to come fight the blaze were denied, since the Cranicks had chosen to not take advantage of the city’s offered services. The Cranicks then offered to “pay whatever it takes” to get fire protection, but the fire department’s hands were tied – they would not come.
When the fire spread to a neighbor’s yard, the South Fulton fire department responded to the call, since the neighbor had opted-in to the fire protection South Fulton offered. Once the field fire was extinguished, the firefighters left, with the Cranick’s house still burning.
Important facts to keep in mind:
- The Cranick house is in Obin County.
- Obin County does not offer its residents fire protection.
- Near-by South Fulton offers fire protection services to it’s tax-paying residents.
- Near-by South Fulton offers fire protection services to Obin County residents that pay a $75 fee.
- Near-by South Fulton sends out a mailer each June offering 12 months of fire protection for $75 to Obin County residents.
- Near-by South Fulton calls each Obin County resident that declined the fire protection coverage.
- This service has been offered for the last 20 years (since 1990).
- In July, 2008 an Obin County resident lost their house to fire after declining fire services from Near-by South Fulton. (See FixFulton.com)
- The Fire Company in South Fulton is responsible to respond to fires where the property owners support the Fire Company, either through their property tax payments or the annual $75 fee.
- The South Fulton Fire Company is barred from rendering services to anyone that choose not to participate in the program.
Now, why not skip over to The Huffington Post and see how many of these facts they include in their coverage of this fire – they include a link to Keith Olbermann’s “report” on this – play that video at your own risk, you’ve been warned.
Huffington Post (for examples of selective facts supporting unrelated political claims): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/04/firefighters-watch-as-hom_n_750272.html
Obion County Fire Prevention website:
South Fulton Fire Department:
South Fulton Fees & Forms web page: