Blogs » Politcs Plus » If you didn't pay the $75...burn baby burn


A few days ago the fire department of South Fulton, Tennessee sat and watched as Gene Cranick's family home burned to the ground because he forgot to pay his $75.00 fire protection fee. He offered to pay whatever it took, as the fire department approached his home, but the fire chief would not allow his firemen put out the fire. Mr. Cranick offer to pay $500 but they told him it was too late. Mr. Cranick's son was so upset that he went to the station and assaulted the fire chief. He was released on a $5,000 bond and charged with aggravated assault. Mr. Cranick was insured so most of those losses will be covered except for the pets (3 dogs and a cat) he lost. That's a good case against privatizing public services.

The city of South Fulton charges a $75.00 fire protection fee to rural residents who live outside the city. If a resident does not pay the fee, firefighters are required by law not to respond. South Fulton has had the "Pay for Spray" policy in place for over 20 years and frequently that fee also covers police services. ABC News reported that this is fairly common in rural areas to alleviate cash strapped city budgets. I believe long time ago, New York City, tried this medieval approach but found it was in the best interests not to follow a policy that angers firefighters and presents a danger to the rural community. The city could have charged Mr. Cranick interest, a fee for after- the -fact services, offer to draft future payments from his bank account but instead they chose to let the home burn to the ground while resources were in place...That’s unacceptable.

Ordinarily, this would have been a one day story where the city of South Fulton could perhaps revisit their policy and make some changes. After all, it's about the money, not necessarily compliance but Glenn Beck weighed in with some rather heartless comments. The controversial Mr. Beck said” those just on raw feelings are not going to understand" that the county's actions in refusing to assist the Cranicks were justified." He used this southern drawl to mock Mr. Cranick 's attempt to pay the $75.00. Glenn Beck went onto say that America will have this debate and fall on the side of compassion but he said" if you don't pay the $75.00 it hurts the fire department, and they can't use those resources and you will be sponging off your neighbors resources."..... I don't know what the era or place Glenn Beck comes from; but it's always been neighbor helping neighbor. I would have gladly paid the $75.00 for a neighbor. Its people like Glenn Beck who will use the airwaves to convince their listeners, that your unemployed neighbor is the problem; not outsourcing, greed or anything big business does. A lot gullible people buy that message.