Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

In Defense of Obion County Fire Department

This was brought to my attention by Ckemtp at Life Under the Lights. He was looking for someone to criticize the fire department, but he is looking elsewhere. When he has a post on this, read his comments, too.

News that a fire department allowed a home to continue to burn, because the owner, Gene Cranick, had not paid the fire protection fee has upset a lot of people. People are mad that the fire department did not just put out the fire anyway.

No.

Gene Cranick made a choice to not pay the fee.

Without that money, the fire department cannot continue to exist, so Gene Cranick is endangering everyone else by refusing to pay for fire service.

If the fire department puts out the fire anyway, then why should anyone contribute to the continuing existence of the fire department?

People have suggested that this is just like a criminal protection racket.

No.

A criminal protection racket would set the fire and burn down the house if the extortion were not paid.

This fire department did not contribute causing this fire.

If you think that it is wrong for the fire department to allow Gene Cranick to profit from his negligent actions, that is ridiculous.

Gene Cranick has decided that his neighbors should pay for fire protection for his home, so that Gene Cranick can spend that money on Gene Cranick.

Gene Cranick tried to pay for just this year to get the fire department to put out the fire.

If they are going to have an after the house is on fire fee, it should be significantly more than the yearly fee.

What are the odds of a fire happening in any home in a given year?

Suppose those odds are one in a hundred, and those odds may be very high, but this is just for the purposes of creating an example. I do not know what the rate of house fire is in this community.

If the odds are one in a hundred, then the home owner should have to pay an amount at least one hundred times the yearly fee if he waits until after a fire has started. Gene Cranick has decided to gamble with this. Gene Cranick lost.

As with the bizarre decision to bailout the bankers, who made similarly bad decisions that contributed to the current financial crisis, we need to make people pay for taking risks that are small on a day to day basis, yet the damage is inevitable (or common) and the damage large when the damage eventually does happen.

$75.00 times 100 = $7,500.00 plus a tried to scam the neighbors surcharge of a couple thousand and change and round off to $10,000.00.

That is is the way to handle this dirt bag, Gene Cranick.

Without funding (the money Gene Cranick diverted from the fire department) there might not be any fire department to complain about.

If Gene Cranick does not feel like paying his property taxes, he will be deprived of his property by the government.

You can complain that the voters should have set up a different system, but they did not.

The actions of the electorate are not the responsibility of the fire department.

“Professional, career firefighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up,” Harold Schatisberger, International Association of Fire Fighters president, said in a statement. “They get in their trucks and go.”[1]

Maybe this union president should go to Obion County to campaign for a change in funding.

Maybe Obion County will not respond well to radical outside agitators telling them what to do.

Maybe people need to consider that there are consequences for their misbehavior.

Maybe irresponsible people should stop expecting those who do behave responsibly to be responsible for their misbehavior.

Gene Cranick bet that his house would not catch fire.

Gene Cranick lost.

If Gene Cranick goes to a casino, do we expect the fire department to cover his losses?

Of course not.

Gene Cranick went to a casino and bet that his house would not burn.

Gene Cranick lost.

If you want to read about why Obion County does things this way, their deliberations from 2008 are available.[2]

Footnotes:

[1] No pay, no spray: Firefighters let home burn
msnbc.com
Article

[2] A Presentation Regarding The Establishment And Implementation of a County-Wide Fire Department
Presented to the Study Committee Comprised of
The Honorable Benny McGuire, County Mayor
Commissioner Danny Jowers
Commissioner Jimmy Seals
Commissioner Cloney Taylor
And the Fire Chiefs of Obion County
March 18, 2008
Free Full Presentation in PDF format

.

Comments

  1. You know what I find interesting about this? Is that there is no federal law against this type of refusal of service. EMS is covered by EMTALA and therefore we surrender the right to say “No”.

    It also seems as if there are a lot of Fire Departments who are saying “No” recently.

    Good defense though… when do you start your new career as an IAFF advocate? 😉

    • Dave,

      You know what I find interesting about this? Is that there is no federal law against this type of refusal of service. EMS is covered by EMTALA and therefore we surrender the right to say “No”.

      I don’t think that EMTALA does apply to EMS. Besides, the fire department was never dispatched and there is no right to emergency services.

      This probably includes the police, even if they are paid for by your taxes. Castle Rock v. Gonzales provides an interesting look at the responsibility to respond.

      It also seems as if there are a lot of Fire Departments who are saying “No” recently.

      It seems odd that they are trying to take over so much that is not fire suppression, but turning down work. Of course, these are unrelated stories.

      Good defense though… when do you start your new career as an IAFF advocate?

      Perhaps you missed my description of the IAFF president as a radical outside agitator. Hardly something that will change the IAFF’s opinion of me.

      I don’t object to fire departments cross-training medics any more than I object to any requirement for any other unrelated cross-training. After we can demonstrate that medics are excellent at all aspects of medical care, then we can consider cross-training, and only as long as they are able to maintain that excellence.

      How many cross-trained places do that? Probably only enough to be counted on one hand.

      Since the IAFF is just a union interested in increasing membership, they do not care about the incompatibility. They do not understand patient care.

      If the IAFF understood patient care, they would not worry so much about response times.

      Response times are the IAFF’s substitute for competence.

      The IAFF encourages incompetence through their ignorance.

      • I don’t think that EMTALA does apply to EMS. Besides, the fire department was never dispatched and there is no right to emergency services.

        This probably includes the police, even if they are paid for by your taxes. Castle Rock v. Gonzales provides an interesting look at the responsibility to respond.

        I stand corrected. Not all EMS providers are hospital based and the regulations were in fact changed in 2003 to allow hospital based providers to transport to a facility other than their home hospital.

        Local laws are what will usually dictate the ability to refuse service or not… usually a “duty to act” type of legislation.

        It seems odd that they are trying to take over so much that is not fire suppression, but turning down work. Of course, these are unrelated stories.

        Actually I think they are more related than we realize.

        Perhaps you missed my description of the IAFF president as a radical outside agitator. Hardly something that will change the IAFF’s opinion of me.

        I think you’d be surprised to know that the IAFF is in fact a for profit business and is always looking to rehab their image into some sort of philanthropic organization to the public while maintaining the perception that they are lions for their members. They’d use you in the lion division… where perhaps you might eat a lamb or two but the whole herd in the end would benefit. Of course… I may also just be delusional from lack of caloric intake today.

        Since the IAFF is just a union interested in increasing membership, they do not care about the incompatibility. They do not understand patient care.

        Ah, but there was no patient! Lives were not endangered! Except for the cat and the three dogs that is.

        Where’s PETA when you need them?

      • I tell you what If one their fire fighters dies in in line duty the towns should not have to pay for funeral fees. I hate saying that because I respect what most fire fighters do daily , but any man or woman that stands by in turn out gear and a truck on scene is not a good neighbor or human being.

        • Mark,

          I tell you what If one their fire fighters dies in in line duty the towns should not have to pay for funeral fees. I hate saying that because I respect what most fire fighters do daily , but any man or woman that stands by in turn out gear and a truck on scene is not a good neighbor or human being.

          People like you endanger firefighters in order to protect your politically correct misunderstanding of the world.

          When we start telling people that they do not have to pay for a fire department, that they can steal fire services from their neighbors, then the fire department goes out of business or just refuses to cover anyone outside of their territory. Then you win and there are no firefighters to criticize because the fire department is gone.

          .

      • I just want to throw my two cents in. What is the point of calling yourself a firefighter if you don’t fight fire. It is the job of the firefighter to fight fire whether they get paid or not. You might as well be a mafia or just a bystander. Being a volunteer firefighter is about helping your neighbors not about how much money we can make. I understand the need for getting the best equipment possible but the point is you fight the fire with what you have until all resources are gone. Dont just stand there and let a house burn, that is just pure ignorant.

        • Dan,

          I disagree.

          Going outside of your territory to bankrupt yourself may seem noble to you, but it is not. Those who will be without service because you cannot afford to fight fire, deserve better. Just because you think that firefighters should not think, but should always rush in without thinking does not make it so.

          When people steal from their neighbors, there should be consequences. The laws in Obion County do not allow the fire department to recover costs from the people who refuse to pay. The people have voted for the laws to be this way.

          If they want fire protection, all they have to do is pay for it. The mafia would burn down the house, if the resident did not pay for protection. The fire fighters are not burning anything.

          Your statement is is what is ignorant, not the behavior of the fire fighters.

          Stop defending those who steal. Develop some ethics.

          .

          • Talking about ethics. Is it ethical to let someone lose their home over such a small amount of money? What if a person was inside? Face it, you’re supporting a sick system. They could have footed him with a bill. Nobody else in the fucking country does it that way because it’s repulsive and slimy. *We* have ethics; our fire fighters save lives without taking the time out to figure out if they deserve saving. Your firefighters have money and the ire of the rest of the country, for really good reasons. Saving lives shouldn’t be treated as a business venture.

            • The fire department responds to save lives, even if the fee has not been paid.

              The fire department does not endanger fire fighters and waste resources to protect the property of those who try to steal from them.

              I agree that this is a bad way to handle fire protection, but this is what the residents voted for.

              Why don’t you pay to assure fire protection in this area, since you claim to be so much more ethical than everyone else?

              Why do you consider it ethical to make misleading claims?

              What is wrong with sticking to the facts?

              .

    • Hospitals (some of them) are covered under EMTALA. Prehospital systems are not. State laws may or may not dictate a response requirement for emergency medical services. But at the federal level, there is no requirement.

      Thanks, RM, for defending the fire department. I think the subscription model is a lousy way to run things, but that’s the system the people chose, and Cranick knew it. Choosing not to pay and then expecting a response anyway is like driving a car without insurance and then expecting the gecko to pay out when you hit someone. Amazing how few people understand that.

      • PJ,

        We have become a country that expects that someone else will always be responsible for our mistakes.

        We become upset, if we are told we have to behave responsibly.

        We are doomed – OK probably not doomed, but this is not a recipe for any kind of prosperity, life liberty, pursuit of happiness, . . .

        • “We have become a country that expects that someone else will always be responsible for our mistakes.”
          I totally disagree with your assessment of American citizens. For the most part, we do accept responsibility for ourselves & contribute to society, as we are required. If this were not the case, we wouldn’t be reading about Gene Cranick, as this scenario would be the norm.

          • Diane,

            We have become a country that expects that someone else will always be responsible for our mistakes.

            I totally disagree with your assessment of American citizens. For the most part, we do accept responsibility for ourselves & contribute to society, as we are required. If this were not the case, we wouldn’t be reading about Gene Cranick, as this scenario would be the norm.

            Perhaps you have not noticed that most people are saying that the fire department should just put out the fire, since that is what fire departments do.

            We are encouraging people to be freeloaders.

            I did not mean that everybody expects others to be responsible for their mistakes. That would be ridiculous, but plenty of people are.

            Look at medical/legal issues. People sue over bad outcomes.

            Lawyers tell them that somebody must pay.

            What would happen if lawyers were sued for bad outcomes? Why are they exempt from their own abuse?

            Expert witnesses contradict established research, but it is all about who has the more emotionally appealing case. The jury is picked for their lack of understanding. We should have knowledgeable people making decisions about medical malpractice, not a bunch of people who get their medical information from Oprah.

            John Edwards was a smooth talking lawyer who convinced juries that cerebral palsy was the fault of the OB/GYN. Why? Because he could. He endangered pregnant women, because now OB/GYNs need to treat patients differently, not because they were doing anything wrong, but because John Edwards is a smooth talking con man. Fortunately, his misbehavior in the bedroom will probably keep him from doing much damage politically. He still has the millions he took from a lot of doctors – doctors who were not guilty of malpractice, just of having a less persuasive attorney.

            Agitators demand that somebody pay. They start riots, but they do not accept any responsibility for what they irresponsibly start. They demand that someone pay, but it usually isn’t the person who is responsible for whatever happened. It is the person with the least politically correct appearance.

            Alternative medicine practitioners are complete frauds, but they are regularly on TV, radio, and the internet hawking their snake oil. Not only that they are trying to get tax payers and insurance companies to cover their placebos. Some already are covered.

            They big bailout was something that people demanded. We are paying hundreds of billions of dollars to protect the most irresponsible banks from accountability for their actions. Why?People are afraid that without the irresponsible banks, we would be in danger of . . . . having to behave responsibly?

            We voted for this nonsense. We put pressure on the politicians to keep the irresponsible from being responsible for their actions.

            Yes, their failure would harm others, but keeping them from failing is also harming others and now there is a precedent, so people will not feel that they need to behave responsibly as long as they are doing the same irresponsible things others are.

            The bailout will be more harmful in the long term.

            The bailout is the Get out of Bankruptcy Free card that the voters demanded.

            Where is this money coming from?

            Our children.

            Our grandchildren.

            After all, they don’t vote, yet. So there are not many to defend them.

            Both political parties are guilty of creating this.

            There are plenty of responsible Americans, even plenty of responsible American voters, but the elections keep putting irresponsible people in power.

  2. Just going to throw out a question that the Software Engineer side of me wonders:

    What if the database in the 911 center had it entered incorrectly that he didn’t pay?

    I’ve been bothered by incorrect data entry by private and government agencies alike, mostly just minor inconveniences. What is more than inconvenient is that this happens at a not so insignificant rate. If a system allowed my property to be destroyed because some minimum wage data entry knucklehead or some wannabe IT jackhole got my information wrong, I’d want to assault somebody.

    Something more insidious: don’t like somebody and you work for the City? Mark them as unpaid for their fire subscription. Maybe their home burns down, maybe it doesn’t. Either way, the fire department won’t show up.

    Moving on, the medic working for a fire service side of me wonders:

    Who still thinks its a good idea to burn shit in a barrel next to their home?

    Quite the boneheaded move, even if he only forgot to pay this year (I’m having trouble finding reputable sources for this story, but a few claim he just ‘forgot to pay’). Hell, even if he paid for the year…putting a large fire by your home may not end well. It’s like all of the drivers that “somehow” get stuck in flooded streets:

    911: “911, what is the nature of your emergency?”
    Driver: “I’m stuck in my car on a flooded street!”
    911: “Ok, where are you?”
    Driver: “I’m at .”
    911: “Ok, that road was closed due to flooding, did you drive around the barricades?”
    Driver: “Yes, but I thought I could get through it. I tried backing up, but my car stalled out.”
    911: “I have good news, this isn’t an emergency.”
    Driver: “What?”
    911: “When you drive into deep water your car will stall out and get stuck. Right?”
    Driver: “Well, yes I guess, but I’m stuck!”
    911: “So what is the nature of your emergency?”
    Driver: “I’m stuck in the water!”

    • Christopher,

      What if the database in the 911 center had it entered incorrectly that he didn’t pay?

      Then they would probably be liable for damages.

      Who still thinks its a good idea to burn shit in a barrel next to their home?

      Somebody who thinks it is a good idea to not pay for fire service. It might have been the grandson, rather than the home owner, depending on which article you read.

      I am surprised that the insurance company does not see this as a violation of their insurance rules.

      I spent Friday driving around flooded streets, but did not see anyone stuck. That is not typical for the area. Usually they are trapped in their cars waiting for the fire department to pull them out.

    • Thank you Chris. maybe Rogue Medic should stand at the emergency room and turn away accident victims who don’t have, or cannot afford medical insurance.

      Better yet, refuse them if they can’t speak and answer whether they have insurance or not. You don’t want to accidentally give medical treatment to any loser that can’t pay the bill.

      Bravo Rogue! Welcome to the Human race!

      You know what they should have done. Put out the fire and then dump all the family’s possessions out on the road, take possession of the house, and sell it to pay for services rendered.

      Really, defending your sick ideology is really more important than helping other human beings.

      • Tim O,

        This is an example of a straw man argument.

        You make up something different from what I wrote, then you attack that position (a position that is unrelated and a position that I never took), then you claim victory.

        You are only demonstrating dishonesty and/or a lack of reading comprehension by using a straw man.

      • To clarify, I don’t put any fault on the FD for this one.

        Firstly, the Fire Department didn’t get dispatched initially, so they couldn’t be expected to fight a fire they weren’t told about. Secondly, when they arrived the house was already a total loss. I know our department often will let total losses continue to burn if it poses no danger to other exposures (unless there are folks who need the experience putting the wet stuff on the hot stuff).

        Regardless, I think the system is messed up.

        • Christopher,

          Tim O wrote –

          Thank you Chris. maybe Rogue Medic should stand at the emergency room and turn away accident victims who don’t have, or cannot afford medical insurance.

          To clarify, I don’t put any fault on the FD for this one.

          All Tim O is doing is creating the appearance of having support for his opinion, which is nothing but a straw man. This is just dishonest debate. This is the kind of stuff that I get from the vaccine denialists and the alternative medicine promoters. They do not know enough to make a valid argument, but they really don’t like something, so they pretend that they know something and that they have a lot of support.

          Regardless, I think the system is messed up.

          The government supplied fire department operates as a fee for service fire department outside of their jurisdiction? 😉

          • They probably don’t collect any fees on mutual aid outside their jurisdiction 🙂

            • Christopher,

              I don’t know. I expect that they do not, but the purpose of mutual aid is that you help your neighboring department when they are overwhelmed with a huge fire/disaster, and other departments are available to cover your service area in your absence. It is expected that when you are overwhelmed with a huge fire/disaster.

              The payment you receive is in the availability of other department to help you.

              I know that there are problems with this in EMS. When an ambulance sends a bill to someone who subscribes to the local ambulance, the local ambulance does not cover the bill for the resident, just as they would not cover the bill of a resident who was transported by ambulance when travelling outside of the territory of the ambulance company.

  3. Hey, if my neighbor’s house caught on fire I would want the fire department to put the damn thing out regardless if he paid a stupid fee or not.

    • AnthonyI,

      And when the fire department cannot respond, because they cannot afford to maintain their vehicles, or they break down on the way for the same reason, or they run into some other problem related to lack of money . . . Then who will put out fires?

      If you don’t like the way the system is designed, vote against it, but don’t blame the fire department for what the voters chose.

      • I don’t even think they got dispatched until the neighbor (who paid) called. Even if you wanted to blame the fire fighters, you can’t blame them if they don’t get the call!

      • Raise taxes or fine the guy to pay for it. There are ways to make people accountable, but putting the entire public at risk because of deficient leadership is shameful. It’s a very basic service, and should be something that is obligatory for people to pay for one way or another. It’s the leadership’s responsibility to keep people safe since they place their hand on the bible and take an oath to do it. They failed. Now you have an entire county in Tennessee that’s at an increased risk of going ablaze because of it.

        • AnthonyI,

          Raise taxes or fine the guy to pay for it.

          The voters chose not to do that.

          There are ways to make people accountable, but putting the entire public at risk because of deficient leadership is shameful.

          The voters are the leadership. This is what they voted for.

          It’s a very basic service, and should be something that is obligatory for people to pay for one way or another.

          That is the way it is run in most places, but this is not the only place that uses a subscription for fire service.

          It’s the leadership’s responsibility to keep people safe since they place their hand on the bible and take an oath to do it.

          Who places a hand on a Bible to vote?

          They failed.

          It appears that only a few people are affected by this. The people who do not pay for fire department service.

          Now you have an entire county in Tennessee that’s at an increased risk of going ablaze because of it.

          I did not see anything in the article that suggested that there is any increased risk of fire for those who pay for the fire department service. The fire department did respond to the neighbor’s house, when the fire from Cranick’s house created a threat to the neighbor’s house.

          This is not a new policy. The people of the county have decided that this is what they want.

  4. Rogue,
    There is no Obion County Fire Department. The City of South Fulton offers Fire Services, at no additional cost, to residents within the City limits.
    The $75 rural protection fee is paid to the City General Fund, not the Fire Department. that general fund recently paid for a 3 million dollar COUNTY Law Enforcement Complex.
    This is a City/County issue and I disagree when you say basic services are not a right. Indeed basic life/property saving services should be included in our monetary exchange with local government.
    In the past in Obion, the FD has extinguished fires, then given residents 30 days to become current on their fees. It happened to Mr Cranick’s son just a few years ago.
    He was wrong not to pay the fee, but the City of South Fulton is wrong for not putting that fee towards fire suppression for the area.

    • Justin,

      There is no Obion County Fire Department. The City of South Fulton offers Fire Services, at no additional cost, to residents within the City limits.

      You are correct. This is the way that Obion County has decided to handle fire service in their county.

      The $75 rural protection fee is paid to the City General Fund, not the Fire Department. that general fund recently paid for a 3 million dollar COUNTY Law Enforcement Complex.

      That I did not know.

      This is a City/County issue and I disagree when you say basic services are not a right. Indeed basic life/property saving services should be included in our monetary exchange with local government.

      Basic life saving services are covered, regardless of the fee.

      Whether somebody has to respond to protect your property, when you do not pay for that protection is much less clear. The voters of Obion County have decided to handle things this way with their money. They could vote differently. They could move. This policy has been in place for decades, so it isn’t as if somebody slipped some secret fee by the government while nobody was looking. They all knew about it.

      In the past in Obion, the FD has extinguished fires, then given residents 30 days to become current on their fees.

      Don’t worry about paying the fee up front. Wait until after you have a fire, then pay.

      Can I get my insurance company – any kind of insurance – to agree to that?

      No. That would guarantee that only the most responsible people would end up covering the costs for everyone else.

      It happened to Mr Cranick’s son just a few years ago.

      Thank you for making my point.

      He was wrong not to pay the fee, but the City of South Fulton is wrong for not putting that fee towards fire suppression for the area.

      I agree.

      Once you start diverting funds within the government, you only encourage corruption. Ask Jim Fazackerly about the funding of SFGH. I think he did his masters, or doctoral, thesis on the Byzantine funding of operations.

  5. This has been confirmed. They have in the resent past, come out to property owners and extinguished fires and then collected the fee in arrears. Second, the first did not originate at the home but on a farmers field and spread to the home in question then to a second home. So, the fire department seemingly did not act in a timely fashion to extinguished the fire when it could have been contained in the field.

    Try reading Fire Chief Curt Varone’s book, Legal Aspects for the Fire Service. Should be mandatory reading for all Fire Officers and a strong recommend for all firefighters.

    • Jeffrey S Austin,

      This has been confirmed. They have in the resent past, come out to property owners and extinguished fires and then collected the fee in arrears.

      Please provide some sort of link to independent information about this. Saying it has been confirmed means nothing without some sort of evidence to back it up. I am not claiming that you are wrong. I just want to know where to find the information.

      Have they had meetings about this attended by the residents affected? The paper from 2008 shows that this is something that people are aware of.

      Second, the first did not originate at the home but on a farmers field and spread to the home in question then to a second home. So, the fire department seemingly did not act in a timely fashion to extinguished the fire when it could have been contained in the field.

      That is the first that I have heard of this being something other than the homeowner or his grandson burning trash next to his house. Do you have a source for that?

      Try reading Fire Chief Curt Varone’s book, Legal Aspects for the Fire Service. Should be mandatory reading for all Fire Officers and a strong recommend for all firefighters.

      Thank you, I’ll add it to the long list of things I would like to read.

  6. Hi, Tim. Please keep in mind that the money that people pay for this subscription fee DOES NOT go directly to the fire department, but it goes into a general fund for the County itself. I wonder what % of that goes back to the FD??? I’m thinking very little.. but thats just an assumption on my part..

    • Scott,

      Hi, Tim. Please keep in mind that the money that people pay for this subscription fee DOES NOT go directly to the fire department, but it goes into a general fund for the County itself.

      Justin already mentioned that. This seems to be a bad idea.

      I wonder what % of that goes back to the FD??? I’m thinking very little.. but thats just an assumption on my part.

      That would be interesting to find out.

  7. What if this was an elderly, semi-infirm individuals home, someone who could get by in life on a day to day basis, but did not follow new local developments closely and was completely unaware of the new policy of “pay to spray”. Maybe this person didn’t pay the $75 dollars. Maybe this person had friends or relatives visiting. Maybe a couple of those people are children that burn up in the fire. What responsibility does government have to protect those young visiting family or friends? None because they don’t pay local taxes? Do you think that local fire departments exist soley on local funding?

    Legal arguements aside, is it right to sit in front of someones home and watch it burn when you have the equipment to prevent it? If these were paid firefighters, they were ‘on the clock ‘ and working anyway. If they were volunteers then they weren’t getting paid anyway, what would it have cost to spray the water? The home owner and the neighbor both offerred to pay whatever the cost if the firefighters would put the fire out, there is no excuse for our society to come to this.

    • Robert,

      What if this was an elderly, semi-infirm individuals home, someone who could get by in life on a day to day basis, but did not follow new local developments closely and was completely unaware of the new policy of “pay to spray”.

      This is not a new policy.

      There is no reason to believe that any homeowner is unaware of the policy.

      Maybe this person didn’t pay the $75 dollars. Maybe this person had friends or relatives visiting. Maybe a couple of those people are children that burn up in the fire.

      They do respond to save lives, just not property.

      What responsibility does government have to protect those young visiting family or friends? None because they don’t pay local taxes? Do you think that local fire departments exist soley on local funding?

      Nobody’s life is endangered by this policy.

      Legal arguements aside, is it right to sit in front of someones home and watch it burn when you have the equipment to prevent it? If these were paid firefighters, they were ‘on the clock ‘ and working anyway. If they were volunteers then they weren’t getting paid anyway, what would it have cost to spray the water?

      Either you did not read what I wrote, or you did not understand it. I answered that at length in my post.

      The home owner and the neighbor both offerred to pay whatever the cost if the firefighters would put the fire out, there is no excuse for our society to come to this.

      Really, where does anyone state that the neighbor offered to pay?

      What is the right amount to pay after the fact?

      If you wait until after the fire, the cost should be dramatically more. I explained why I think that $10,000 is a good amount.

      You can try your argument on an insurance company some time.

      I want to pay you your regular insurance rate to cover what already happened. See if any insurance company will take your money. This is just a form of insurance.

      Mr. Cranick decided to gamble with his house. Mr. Cranick lost his bet.

      Maybe people should be upset with him for acting so irresponsibly.

  8. I am the Asst. Fire Chief of the Rives Vol. Fire Dept. in Obion Co. Tennessee, this incident happened in the neighboring town of South Fulton. My dept does not have a subscription as of yet, however our county commission will vote on Oct. 18th to put in place a county wide subscription so unfortunately this will happen again.
    The chiefs of Obion County have worked for 4 years to offer the county a proposal of a fire tax or just fund the 8 municipality fire departments a mere $360,000 to provide ALL residence of the county fire protection, however the current county commission refuses to force a tax upon our citizens.

    Now a word about Mr Cranick, he was sent 3 letters reminding him of his fire dues, after that they called him 3 times and each time he said he would come and pay tomorrow, after the third phone call the dept dropped his name off the list.

    The fact of starting a fire in burn barrel when we have not seen rain in two months is not that smart anyways, it then spread to a shed and after 30 minutes of trying to put out the shed he finally calls 911 knowing quite well they failed to pay for the subscription.

    The FD did respond after a paying neighbor called that the fire was spreading toward their house and they responded and extinguished the grass fire and then returned to quarters. They did not stand there and watch it burn.

    Three hours after the fire the son goes to the fire station begins to punch the fire chief while his wife and young son look on. The chief had to go to the hospital and have surgery and Mr. Cranicks son arrested for felony aggravated assault.

    This fire dept depends on the subscriptions to keep the fire equipment in service. Ironically this subscription was set up 20 years ago because someones house just outside the city limits burned and they wanted to provide some type of service to those residence so the subscription service was started. City taxpayers were concerned that if a truck was wrecked paid for by city taxpayers they would see a decrease in their level of protection and would have to flip the bill for a new pumper.

    Now most firefighters in Obion County are taking a beating and getting hate emails and being condemned by agency’s like the IAFF before getting all the facts.
    Thank you for your pro fire view and comments.

  9. Rouge Medic = Typical Teabagging Republican Asshole

    • James,

      Don’t call me a Teabagger/Teapartier and don’t call me a Republican.

      I am neither.

      As for the rest of your intended insult, I don’t consider the source to be reputable. Being called names by some stranger doesn’t bother me.

      • James doesn’t realize most of us are called MUCH worse by many more people every single day.

        Always some idiot who has to drag politics into it.

        • Jon,

          James doesn’t realize most of us are called MUCH worse by many more people every single day.

          Maybe not every day. 😉

          Always some idiot who has to drag politics into it.

          Sometimes, I am that idiot.

          This is a policy that is created by politicians. Politics is a part of it.

          The people of Obion County have the authority to make these rules for themselves – as long as they do not violate any state or federal rules, such as the Tennessee Constitution or the US Constitution. The people outside of Obion County may have many good reasons for opposing these rules, but we do not have the authority to go in there and overthrow the government, just because we do not like their laws.

          The way politics in the US is going right now, there are a bunch of people in a few parties claiming that they should be able to tell everyone else how to live their lives because the freedom of these politicians depends on the ability to tell others how to live their lives. It seems that a lack of rationality has become the most important qualification to run for political office. Eventually, we will recover from this. I would like to live long enough to see it happen.

          • A bad choice of wording on my part.. instead of saying “Always some idiot who has to drag politics into it.”, I should have said “Always some idiot who has to drag a political party into it and using it in some form of insulting manner”. 🙂

            I do understand that politics is a necessary evil, and while politics may have started this $75 fee 20+/- years ago, it was the voters who made it into law, essentially. Since I have no vested interest in Obion County, I’m fine with pretty much whatever laws they deem necessary to pass for their little chunk of the world. None of it affects me.

            On the other hand… I would be VERY interested to see the sheets.. where exactly does the $75/resident fee go? To the new multi-million dollar complex? To a general “FD fund”? To the county commissioner’s bank account?

            I would also be very interested to see what the breakdown is on property taxes and exactly where that money goes to. Honestly, I feel if even just one cent of “standard” property taxes finds its way to the FD, then perhaps they were obligated to respond, “on the list” or not.

            The other exception I’m taking to this whole situation… if what @Justin Schorr says is true, that in the past they have extinguished a fire then worked out the finances afterward, then this is a completely separate issue… some sort of prejudice against the homeowner on behalf of whoever can grant a “spray then pay”? Again.. I don’t know.

            I’m also not really buying the correlation between this fee and insurance plans. The monthly premiums I pay for my car insurance don’t prevent the accident.. they just pay for the end result. This $75 fee program is very similar to a number of “EMS Funds” of which I am familiar with. The contrast, however, is that it is not a mandatory $50 or $60 or whatever per year, but those who pay in are not charged a thing for them or their families by the EMS department (above and beyond what their insurance, if any, covers).

            However, those who do not pay into the fund are responsible for any monies their insurance (if any) doesn’t cover.

            This might be the compromise for the situation in Obion and other places with similar policies… “Pay $75/year and we’ll come out and save life and property. If you choose not to, we’ll come out, save life and property, then bill you a flat fee plus hourly going rate plus expenses plus whatever plus whatever…” I’m not one for “what if’s” (mainly because “what if a meteorite destroys the earth, then none of this matters.”), but needless to say I’m glad no persons were injured or killed. I can’t say I’m pleased about the dogs perishing, but from the sounds of it, he had plenty of time to get them to safety.

            But.. and as you pointed out a few times in various comments… none of us are going to march down there and enforce our beliefs on the County.

            I do know that I have a very nagging feeling that by the time the lawsuit is over and done with that Obion County may soon be known as Cranick County. 😉

            • Jon,

              On the other hand… I would be VERY interested to see the sheets.. where exactly does the $75/resident fee go? To the new multi-million dollar complex? To a general “FD fund”? To the county commissioner’s bank account?

              Me, too. On the other hand, that does not mean that the fire department should say, It’s only the government’s money. it doesn’t matter. That is the job of the politicians. 😉

              I would also be very interested to see what the breakdown is on property taxes and exactly where that money goes to. Honestly, I feel if even just one cent of “standard” property taxes finds its way to the FD, then perhaps they were obligated to respond, “on the list” or not.

              That is a good point, but the fire department would have to know that is the case. Somebody would be responsible.

              The other exception I’m taking to this whole situation… if what @Justin Schorr says is true, that in the past they have extinguished a fire then worked out the finances afterward, then this is a completely separate issue… some sort of prejudice against the homeowner on behalf of whoever can grant a “spray then pay”? Again.. I don’t know.

              That is a problem when the fire fighters act independently. their action is seen as establishing policy. They do not have that authority. I

              ’m also not really buying the correlation between this fee and insurance plans. The monthly premiums I pay for my car insurance don’t prevent the accident.. they just pay for the end result. This $75 fee program is very similar to a number of “EMS Funds” of which I am familiar with. The contrast, however, is that it is not a mandatory $50 or $60 or whatever per year, but those who pay in are not charged a thing for them or their families by the EMS department (above and beyond what their insurance, if any, covers).

              How does paying a fee ahead of time (a subscription), to cover ambulance transport by that agency later on, not correspond to insurance. You can pat the $50 dollars per year or you can pay the $1,000 (or whatever) per ambulance transport. Just as you can pay for health insurance, which will cover most of the cost of an ambulance transport, or you can pay the $1,000 (or whatever) per ambulance transport. You are betting that you will not need the service or you are contributing to a fund to cover the service for everyone. It is your choice.

              This might be the compromise for the situation in Obion and other places with similar policies… “Pay $75/year and we’ll come out and save life and property. If you choose not to, we’ll come out, save life and property, then bill you a flat fee plus hourly going rate plus expenses plus whatever plus whatever…” I’m not one for “what if’s” (mainly because “what if a meteorite destroys the earth, then none of this matters.”), but needless to say I’m glad no persons were injured or killed. I can’t say I’m pleased about the dogs perishing, but from the sounds of it, he had plenty of time to get them to safety.

              From what I have read, the South Fulton Fire Department has no authority to tax outside of its boundaries and no authority to collect any amount for fire services provide. Otherwise that might be the most reasonable approach.

              As I see it, he chose to let the pets burn, so he could try to protect his property.

              But.. and as you pointed out a few times in various comments… none of us are going to march down there and enforce our beliefs on the County.

              I do know that I have a very nagging feeling that by the time the lawsuit is over and done with that Obion County may soon be known as Cranick County. 😉

              I don’t think so. I think that they will realize that this has been very profitable for Gene Cranick. Not so much for his son.

              I think that a jury of his peers – the people who have to put up with him – will see through the spin the media put on this story.

  10. Gene Cranick made a choice to not pay the fee.

    Without that money, the fire department cannot continue to exist, so Gene Cranick is endangering everyone else by refusing to pay for fire service.

    Rougue Medic—-I live very close to this area and believe me the fire department is not lacking. Here is my question though….Wouldn’t this be the humane thing to do-Bill them for the $75. If they do not pay the $75.00 or refuse to pay it then in the case of a fire- charge them $xx amount of money for the cost of the fire department to extinguish the fire. We live in a sad world when we cease to help our fellow man. There are so many variables here that it is crazy….what if they did pay and someone logged the information on the right account? Why not just do what is “right” and worry about the rest later? There plenty of people around who would have helped out the fire department with expenses to save this families house.

    • Curious,

      Gene Cranick made a choice to not pay the fee.

      Without that money, the fire department cannot continue to exist, so Gene Cranick is endangering everyone else by refusing to pay for fire service.

      Rougue Medic—-I live very close to this area and believe me the fire department is not lacking. Here is my question though….Wouldn’t this be the humane thing to do-Bill them for the $75. If they do not pay the $75.00 or refuse to pay it then in the case of a fire- charge them $xx amount of money for the cost of the fire department to extinguish the fire.

      The fire department does not have the legal authority to do that.

      We live in a sad world when we cease to help our fellow man.

      Gene Cranick seems to have been doing a good job of helping himself at the expense of others. If he had not paid his taxes, would you be saying that it is OK to let him keep the money he would have paid in taxes and keep his house?

      There are so many variables here that it is crazy….what if they did pay and someone logged the information on the right account?

      They contacted him over and over and over and over and . . . . Gene Cranick deliberately chose not to pay.

      Why not just do what is “right” and worry about the rest later?

      I guess you need to ask Mr. Cranick why he did not do the right thing. The fire department followed their rules and there was no good reason for them to disobey. If you do not like the rules and you live there, change the rules. Don’t expect to pass this kind of rule and then criticize the fire department for following the rules you put into law.

      There plenty of people around who would have helped out the fire department with expenses to save this families house.

      Plenty of people not named Gene Cranick.

  11. I’ve been going back and forth on this story… I see the policy as wrong, I see the resident as wrong, I see the FD as wrong.. but who does that leave as right? No one? Everyone? I have NO idea.

    So what if the town charged EVERYONE an extra $6.25 per month on their property taxes? Well, that would give the GOP something else to bitch about… that would turn it into “socialized fire protection”, as opposed to keeping it optional, which makes it more of an “acceptable” capitalism-based endeavor.

    Who knows? I certainly don’t.. and I’m still flip-flopping on the subject.

    Being one of three fulltime-ish employees at a tiny little EMS department in a tiny little town, I can completely understand money, or the lack thereof… on the job, at home…

    I think, though.. one of the points of the story that makes me vote against the town a little more with this whole situation is the fact that the resident offered to pay his $75 or more for them to come out and save his house, which was declined. I know the town’s laws are worded so that paying after the fact is not allowed, but still…

    Would I have accepted his offer? Yes. Would I have charged him more? Yes. Base $75 + interest + late fees of $6.25 per month, so call it $200. That’s $125 more that the FD would have received had he paid, but in this instance, they both lost out.

    Again.. I’m still flip-flopping. The resident’s son shouldn’t have assaulted the fire chief. The firefighters shouldn’t be blamed, as they were doing as they were told. Maybe… just maybe..

    Campbell Rice said above: “however the current county commission refuses to force a tax upon our citizens”. Taxes are already forced on the citizens.. on all of us. Sales, property, luxury, marriage, dog license.. “forcing” another $6.25 a month on the citizens isn’t going to make one iota of difference, other than the town can do away with its silly database and list-checking, which might improve response times?

    Again.. I don’t know. So I’m going to sit here at the station, look dreamily out the window at this beautiful autumn day in northern Maine and hope that no one has a heart attack today.

    Great column, RM. Always enjoy reading your stuff.

  12. We are finally showing what we truly are made of. That is nothing but selfish and down right evil people. To stand by and watch someone’s house burn up along with 4 living, breathing creatures while in the house is nothing short of evil. Money has become one of the most important things in our lives and we have forgotten what is important. Lives are important and the fact that this fire department let those creatures die, well there are no words for this.

    All I can say is, wait until that day when you stand before God and he asks, why would you let something like this happen over $75 dollars? What in the world would be a good enough answer??

    I personally hope that because this fire department caused the death of these creatures that someone will step up and bring them to justice, for killing God’s creatures just because of $75. This is without all morals. This is just wrong.

    I hate to say I am a part of this species. This is just WRONG! And if you say anything other then there is something very wrong with YOU.

    • elizabeth,

      We are finally showing what we truly are made of.

      Yes, there are many people willing to support a manipulative reckless guy, who killed his pets, over a bunch of people who are doing their job. You are upset that the fire fighters did not endanger their jobs to protect the property of the reckless and irresponsible Gene Cranick.

      Is there any reason to believe that the fire department was on scene while the pets were still alive?

      Still, you choose to assume this to support your hatred.

      Gene Cranick killed his pets for $75. Do not blame anyone else.

  13. There is no serious defence for a team of people who have sworn an oath to protect people who decidedly neglect their responsibility to the people.

    • Lucys fire protection,

      The responsibility of the fire department has been determined by county law.

      The responsibility of the fire department is only to the people who pay the subscription. You can disagree with that policy, but that has been the policy in that county for a couple of decades.

      People can pay for fire protection or decide that they do not want fire protection.

      Gene Cranick decided that he did not want to pay for fire protection, but wanted to steal fire protection.

  14. Good God above, we are now using money to decide if you should save someone’s house that had living, breathing creatures in it?? What is wrong with this species that we equate money with everything. If you ain’t got money you might as well kiss your butt goodbye. What has happened to us that we would let this happen? You are talking about money compared to someone losing their pets and then their home. Okay this guy didn’t pay the money, save the pets and then the home and then go after the people that didn’t pay?

    Okay I for one want to stand before these fire fighters when that day comes that we will be judged for what we have done on this earth. I want to hear what will be said when they are asked why they didn’t try to save these creatures? I mean they don’t belong to any of us. And to just let them burn because of money not being paid, wow I can’t even believe that a good enough answer will do it.

    This is down right sad that there are those who will call others a name because they feel that doing the right thing is stupid or better yet, we show no intelligence?? I would rather be called dumb than treat others this way!! This is down right disgusting and without any morals.

    • elizabeth,

      Gene Cranick burned his pets. The fire department did not burn his pets. Why didn’t Gene Cranick let the pets out of his home before they burned? Why do you place the responsibility for that on the fire fighters who were not even there when the pets were alive.

      It is amusing that you claim to be above calling others names, then you finish the same paragraph with name calling.

      Why didn’t you save Gene Cranick’s pets elizabeth? I know. Nobody paid you to save his pets.

  15. what a jerk you are. The fire department could have done something. Again, I want to be there when that person says why they didn’t save those pets. And by the way, one wrong doesn’t right another wrong. Or do you know that??????

  16. He tried to cheat. Too put money in his pocket. And he had every legal right to do so, so long as he accepted the responsibly of his actions. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. But to when you get caught with your pants down, and expect someone else to pick up the ball it deplorable.

    I love how all these people complain about the loss of his cats and dogs, but fail to bemoan the spiders, ants, ticks, bedbugs, cockroaches, mice, rats and all other sort of parasites that live in our houses. While it is sad that the animals perished it must be noted that they didn’t die a horrible flaming death, they were dead long before from smoke inhalation, which they say is a rather painless way of dieing. NOT that I would choose it. Buy spare me your bleeding heart, what is an animal worth? Not putting a mans life at risk for.

    It does not seem to enter their thoughts, that this is a rural area. It take HOURS for 911 to help you. Ok maybe not hours, but they have to drive along way to get to you. Keep in mind they did not immediately call 911, but tried for some time to fight it themselves. I bet (with good reason) the house and animals were already lost by the time professionals showed up.

    It also fails to be mentioned that they were well known by the FD, as there had been previous contacts,in which he/they tried to get something they were not entitled to.

    It really gets my goad, when people comment that they should have accepted his on the spot payment.
    Just try that with Jesus. The bible does tell us that it will be tried. Knocking saying open the door. There is a time for repentance and then there is a time of WHOOPS! TOO BAD TOO LATE. Likewise there is a time to pay your bills. And a time to pay the piper.

    If you read the FD report http://troy.troytn.com/Obion%20County%20Fire%20Department%20Presentation%20Presented%20to%20the%20County%20Commission.pdf
    They mention that they have no legal right nor way to collect. They have a $500.00 fee for rural calls on which they have a 50% collection rate on. They only way they can collect is out of the goodness of heart of whom ever receives the bill. They are not obligated to pay.

    If you watch the news footage of the FD putting out the neighbors fire, you will see in the background a early model(I would guess WWII vintage) Mack stake bed truck with a tank strapped in the back for a tanker. To me that says that they need money. For many years across this country the rural areas have been given free or below cost, services from the cities. This has led to a bleeding of funds to cover outlaying lands. It has got so cost prohibitive to provide services that the cities can no long provide them out of the kindness of their heart. The counties must pony up their expenses.

    I have very little sympathy for Mr. Gene Cranick. He got exactly what he paid for.

    Ray.

  17. What I find just down right stupid is the fact we call ourselves ‘humans’ and a human being would want to stop the burning of anyones home! The fact that they let money play a part in this just shows just how selfish and money hungry we are.

    And isn’t this the same house that had the dogs in it? Wow, I think what I said back then was how stupid that these dogs would lose their lives because of ‘money!’

    We have shown ourselves to be nothing but just selfish and without morals. When money plays any part when it comes to lives and the idea that we should be more human, then we know all is lost!

    • ELIZABETH,

      What I find just down right stupid is the fact we call ourselves ‘humans’ and a human being would want to stop the burning of anyones home! The fact that they let money play a part in this just shows just how selfish and money hungry we are.

      First, get the world to run without money. Then your comment may have some validity. Without money, the fire company has to shut down and the result is the same.

      And isn’t this the same house that had the dogs in it? Wow, I think what I said back then was how stupid that these dogs would lose their lives because of ‘money!’

      The dogs died because the owner put them in the trailer. The dogs were dead long before the fire department was there. The fire department would have saved the dogs from the owner.

      We have shown ourselves to be nothing but just selfish and without morals. When money plays any part when it comes to lives and the idea that we should be more human, then we know all is lost!

      You are defending someone stealing services and endangering his neighbors. You are the immoral one.

      If the fire department cannot collect subscriptions, it cannot afford to cover outside of its territory. If people only pay subscriptions after a fire, then there is no point to having subscriptions.

      You would deprive all of his neighbors of a fire department, just so you can hypocritically feel morally superior supporting someone who endangers his neighbors.

      Shame on you.

      .

      • Like I said, money is what runs everything. Yeah it would have been nice if we would have been humans first and foremost before money, but that would never happen!! So people will lose their homes if they haven’t paid more money!

        As for the dogs, someone from the fire department told me in an email that it was not right that they had to go into the home and get the dogs, they let the home burn knowing the dogs were in the house…get your info correct! So let me see, these dogs died because the firemen said the owner should have gotten them out, and the owner says they couldn’t get the dogs out???

        Stealing service, wow here we go, we humans use excuses for everything. It was their home you selfish person. Put the fire out and then go after the sorry money.

        Let me ask you something, let’s say you believe in GOD, you die and you meet him and his first question is, why would you not help these people??????? Be careful what you say, because the idea that you wouldn’t help these people or anyone else because of money, well I don’t think that will play well with GOD!!!!!

  18. First of all, this story is more than a year old.

    Second of all, the subscription is what was voted on, in lieu of more taxes. Because god forbid if there are more taxes.

    Third of all, just like Roguemedic stated: they took a gamble that their house wouldn’t catch fire, and they lost that bet.

    So please.. take your outrage elsewhere.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NYC Watchdog, David Konig, Shelly Wilcoxson, Chronicles of EMS, Shelly Wilcoxson and others. Shelly Wilcoxson said: RT @davidkonig: RT @EMSBlogs: From #RogueMedic: In Defense of Obion County Fire Department http://bit.ly/9tb7YC #EMS #Blog #EMSBlogs […]

  2. […] was written in the comments to In Defense of Obion County Fire Department under the name of Campbell Rice. I don’t know if the author is Campbell Rice or if he is the […]

  3. […] Medic actually defended the fire service’s inaction in South Fulton. During the course of the thriving comments, he received a comment from a fire fighter in Obion […]

  4. […] in Obion County Fri, 08 Oct 2010 12:19:30 +0000 By Rogue Medic Leave a Comment Responding to In Defense of Obion County Fire Department, Jon wrote – I’ve been going back and forth on this story… I see the policy as wrong, I […]

  5. Questions for Congressional Candidates…

    trackback >>The Moral Liberal: Defending the Judeo-Christian ethic, limited government, and the American constitution>>…

  6. […] of a non-subscribing resident is one such example. While Rogue Medic makes a very strong case in defense of the inactions of the South Fulton Fire Department, the outcry in the media and elsewhere on the internet indicates that the public feels otherwise. […]

  7. […] allowed a house to burn down because the owner hadn’t paid their $75 subscription fee? Rogue Medic defended the inaction quite eloquently but it raised the question about amoral policies leading to immoral […]

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