• They didn't answer that call, they answered the neighbor's call.

    October 14, 2010 at 10:09 a.m.

  • That may be so,but volunteer fireman take that risk.....I still say, "if you are not going to put out the fire..Don't answer the call."....Sitting by watching a home burn down,should never be an option...IMO

    October 14, 2010 at 10:02 a.m.

  • Oh, one other thing, I get your point about privatizing needed services, but in your blog and my examples, none of the entities are private business s , they are all taxpayer funded entities.

    October 7, 2010 at 5:58 p.m.

  • I agree about the 911 calls, I mentioned them to show that some cities and counties, like the one mentioned in your blog, are using the same tactics to supplement city and county revenue.

    In other words, the people pay taxes for the service, but yet have to pay a fee when the service is used, or beforehand in the case of the your blog and the 911 "insurance" fee.

    The 911 one is different, they will still take your call, dispatch needed services and perform the service when they get there and bill you later. Unlike the FD mentioned, driving out to the location and not performing any service.

    The same with the EMS fee, they did perform the service when they arrived and billed later.

    October 7, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.

  • This is the saddest most disgusting thing I have heard in a long time...the FD sits and watches his home burn down because he didn't pay $75 dollars for "FIRE PROTECTION"? I had no idea that this kind of fee even existed...can you imagine what would happen if EMS or Police adopted this same policy?

    Wow, I hope those fire fighters feel good about the city they work for. What a proud troop...

    Sure the guy has insurance...but that will never replace his family pets, pictures, collectibles and other things that can't be purchased.

    My home burned down in 1998 and I know what it feels like to loose everything all at once. It's heartbreaking and surreal. To know that someone could have helped him and didn't is just disgusting.

    October 7, 2010 at 4:42 p.m.

  • Why does EMS charge to help you? Police or Fire don't, not that I know of. Isn't that why we pay taxes? My grandmother use to be transported by EMS every other month and each time they would send a bill for $450. Once they sent an "extra" Paramedic and charged an extra $50!!! Bills when straight to the trash. No way are we paying for this. We already pay city taxes out the rear.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:27 p.m.

  • Mike...Some years ago, I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for Victoria. We routinely sent fire trucks to accompany ambulances just in case the extra man-power was needed to extricate someone. Yeah, most of the time, it's a waste of money. I agree with you about waiving the charge for the ambulance transport -- FD doesn't charge extra if they put out your fire and the cops don't charge extra to show up and escort a person off your property or investigate a theft. If someone calls EMS because their kid has sniffles, charge the &*$$ out of them to discourage the practice, but real people who need real help don't need to be charged three figure fees for the EMTs to treat them and the ambulance to take them to the hospital. Someone injured in a car wreck needs help and care -- not a fund raising bill.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:01 p.m.

  • Legion357

    I remember paying those $500 EMS bills for my mom but I still don't know why they have to use that diesel guzzling fire truck on every trip inside the city... I'm sure they have a logical reason.

    I have to disagree with the 9/11 charge; I understand your point about the idiot calls but those people can be prosecuted.... I believe there's a charge on my home phone and cell phone for 9/11 calls,although I've never used it but that $300 to our poor senior citizens should be waived.... I don't think we want to discourage people from making 9/11 calls. Perhaps I'm wrong.

    October 7, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.

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    October 7, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

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    October 7, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.

  • I agree arlewill, I guess we all have worked or known voluntary firemen in our past and found them to be unselfish, salt of the earth types... They still have that old frontier community spirit.

    Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University said the city of South Fulton has a legal right,under common law, to take advantage of a law that states " if you were not at fault for the incident, then you don't have a legal obligation to respond."... He went on to explain that that draws a fine and perilous line because it could extend to law enforcement.. What if a human being would have been inside that trailer ? What about a clerical error? That law doesn't reflect moral realism or social conformity. ABC News reported that this is fairly common in rural areas but Mr. Turley said Tennessee is one of the few states that has this law.

    "Support Your Local Volunteer Fire Department." ....I do, and I have enjoyed the excellent barbecue plates, throughout the years.

    Have a good one

    October 7, 2010 at 9:16 a.m.

  • Tophat

    Thanks for sharing , sorry to hear you have left our city but don't let that make you a stranger..... Check in from time to time and let us know about that small town in Pennsylvania.

    Have a good one

    October 7, 2010 at 9:05 a.m.

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    October 7, 2010 at 9 a.m.

  • Mike
    Your blog makes me appreciate what we have in Victoria. The City and County have worked together to provide some of the best fire protection in the State. The County reimburses the City for most of the costs of their calls. The County has eleven Volunteer Fire Departments and the VFD's have responded to calls in the City and other Counties when needed. Victoria County Volunteer Fire Departments are non-profit organizations and receive some funding from the County but most of their funding comes from donations, fund raisers and grants.
    Goliad County Volunteer Fire Departments are more dependent on County funding.
    The people involved in our Volunteer Fire Departments work hard without pay to serve the community. Support Your Local Volunteer Fire Department.

    October 7, 2010 at 7:47 a.m.

  • I now reside in a small PA town. We do pay an association fee for fire and medical services. Glad we have such civic minded people here. When they go to a situation, they do not take the time to check the books to see if the person is "paid". Rather, they deal with the emergency, and bill the person for the expense, if unpaid.

    October 7, 2010 at 7:30 a.m.

  • It is a tax like everything else....if you don't pay your property taxes, they take your house....if you don't pay your income taxes, they take your freedom. Where I live, I don't know about other places, if you don't register your animals & have chips placed in them (all costs $$) they take your animals, you pay a fine or they kill your pet. In the grand scheme of things, $75 is pretty darn cheap to keep the fire dept responding to calls from your house. Nothing in this life is free.

    BTW, my ambulance ride cost about $700.00.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:33 p.m.

  • I agree Mike, they where there, the house fire should have been fought. In 79 my then wife and my son and grandmother had a wreck out in Nursery. The EMS came, transported my son and grandmother to Detar. Insurance covered the medical costs, but then I got a bill from the city of Victoria, all of $51 for EMS out of city fee. No big deal, but I never knew they did that till then.

    I also saw on the network news, that some city and counties are now charging for calling 911, you can pay a yearly fee or if you haven't paid and call 911 your charge is $300. In that case, it sorta makes sense, hopefully it will keep the idiots from calling 911 when their hamburger isn't prepared right. lol

    October 6, 2010 at 6:07 p.m.

  • I think for a fire department to be there and refuse to put out a fire or rescue pets, (if possible), is criminal.

    I would think the $75 goes toward supporting the fire department. Maybe this should have been handled in such a way that the homeowner can opt out but would be charged for services if they are ever needed. But the services would have to be much more than $75, or too many would opt out and the fire department would not be funded. Maybe the fee to come put out a fire would be based on time spend and size of the fire, ranging from $150 - $2500.

    Most people would pay the $75 but if not the fire department would be compensated.

    October 6, 2010 at 5:54 p.m.

  • Set the fire chief's house on fire see how he likes it. Then burn down the firehouse. Keep setting stuff on fire. The more, the better. Don't forget to take hostages.

    October 6, 2010 at 5:26 p.m.

  • Legion357

    I can understand the fee and the need for compliance but I think it is unprofessional and irresponsible to let a person's home burn down just because the fee was not paid... Why answer the call? My whole point, if you are there and have the resources, put out the fire... Money issues can always be handled at a later date.They should not allow a home to burn just to use it as an intimidation tool... What's next?

    Some counties are headed in that direction; and I remember reading about a county that required citizens to report crime via the Internet, where the dispatcher would be the one to set priorities. Some crimes would not get a response. I can understand a city wanting a rural area to pay a fee or encouraging them to set up a volunteer fire department. That might be the answer for that area.

    October 6, 2010 at 5:23 p.m.

  • I seem to remember something similar, though it didn't go as far, in Goliad County last year.

    The Goliad FD want more from the county to answer calls in the county, not all areas have a VFD. The commissioners balked at the increase, the FD said they might not answer calls in the county... a agreement was reached.

    I guess the area mentioned could not reach a agreement, so thus the fee was instead enacted. I take it the county where this happened did not want to use tax money to pay for fire service, unlike Goliad County, and this is the consequences of that action.

    October 6, 2010 at 5:05 p.m.

  • Observer

    As usual, you're trying to turn this topic into something else..... This is about a $75.00 fee not Obama Care.... I will not allow this blog to go off subject.... Any future responses to Obama Care will be deleted.... You can write your own blog about Obama Care...

    October 6, 2010 at 4:35 p.m.

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    October 6, 2010 at 4:28 p.m.

  • Vox

    We're talking right past each other because I'm not going to pretend I know the ins and outs of that city's policies and compliance factor, nor do I Care.

    I'm not going to kick a person while he is down... It's quite possible that he simply forgot and he ended up paying the price.

    1. I don't think it's right for professional firefighters to allow a home to burn down... We wouldn't consider that in a large city because of the aftermath.. Fires get out of control i.e. California fires. and human and animal life could be in danger... Civil disputes can be handled Monday through Friday at City Hall.
    2. I don't think people need lectures after- the -fact.... Nor do they need to be mocked.
    3. I believe if 500 homes opted out; the city's receivables would indicate that and City Council would probably take some action... Not exactly apples and oranges.

    4. I made my point; you made yours; we disagree......... life goes on.

    October 6, 2010 at 4:25 p.m.

  • Are you surprised that Firefighters have feelings?

    Not my point at all--I was curious to read an article that had the firefighters' (those on the scene, not hearsay from other folks) point of view. I like to take all points of view into consideration. Not necessary to turn this into personal attacks.

    You say the financials could be worked out at another time. I disagree. Think of the resources that go into putting out a house fire--personnel, water, gas, tools, time, etc. Now if you want to charge the lazy homeowner the actual cost of putting out the fire then fine, but you know and I know that the FD is not getting that money back. In the process you've set a precedent for everyone else--no one pays, yet expects service.

    $75 may not make or break the service, but next year when dues come around and, oh I don't know, 500 homes decide to skip out on the $75 because they know they don't REALLY have to pay it, then there's a problem.

    In any event the people in this area are apparently quite dim.
    1. They voted to have it this way.
    2. They are relying on a city FD to take care of them rather than forming a volunteer or county FD to cover their needs. I'd imagine that you run the risk of your house burning down living out in the sticks whether you have service or not due to the response time for rural areas.
    3. Fire protection is clearly not a non-essential service that you should be allowed to opt-out of. This should be a county tax and for whatever reason it's not.

    My argument is not that the firefighters were right in letting the home burn down. My argument is that the homeowner knew the policy, apparently saw this as a non-essential service, took the risk by not paying the fee, understood that the FD would not respond to those houses that didn't pay, and yet still thought he was entitled to this service. I don't think that's right.

    October 6, 2010 at 4:01 p.m.

  • vox is right, you are wrong, as usual. If you think people waiting to pay a fee until their house is on fire is okay, try waiting to pay your property taxes until you need a city/county service. Let us know how that works out.

    October 6, 2010 at 3:52 p.m.

  • Vox
    I've been around a long time and I have probably have been paying insurance longer then you have been alive; spare me the kindergarten example.

    I stated that the financial s could be worked out at another time; $75.00 was not gonna make or break the fire department. You wanna let homes burn down to prove a point; that's your business.

    I'm just a lowly poster but someone that should know said "The fire department's decision to let the home burn was "incredibly irresponsible," said the president of an association representing firefighters.

    "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."

    BTW In my five years of blogging, I have never posted a lie and I don't like to do other people's research because you won't accept it, your mind is made up.

    "Other locals have been sympathetic during this trying period, Cranick told Olbermann.

    "Most everybody has been compassionate and neighborly," he told MSNBC. "I understood some of the firefighters went home and were sick. Some of them even cried over it."

    "I appreciate it," he said.

    Are you surprised that Firefighters have feelings?

    October 6, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.

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    October 6, 2010 at 3:23 p.m.

  • Yes, what would be the motivation? If everyone knows that they are going to get fire service whether they pay the money or not then why would they pay? They wouldn't. The department would then lack the resources to provide any type of service to the rural areas, and instead only serve the city residents who pay taxes for their service.

    Let's say you get in a car wreck but you have no insurance. Then you decide, as your sitting on the curb waiting for the ambulance, that you're going to call an insurance company and say 'hey, I just got in a wreck and I want to buy some insurance to cover it'. Good luck with that. You know there's a risk of getting in a wreck, but to save some bucks you opted out of insurance.

    That's what this guy did. He lives in a rural area, burns his trash, yet didn't think it was important to pay for fire service. By the way this has nothing to do with privatizing public service. If this was the case the department would have had a long list of fees they could have charged the owner for putting the fire out.

    These folks don't live in the city, they live in the county. Out of jurisdiction of the CITY fire department. The CITY FD's first concern is to serve the taxpayers of the city that fund the FD. This is offered as a service. Many rural communities don't even have this option. They should be lucky to be able to opt in if they so choose. Also, this was not an isolated occurrence. A similar situation had already happened in this county before. He knew this would happen.

    These citizens (as county residents and not city residents) voted for it to be this way. Also, please cite the article where the firefighters say they were distraught and couldn't sleep. I'd like to read it.

    October 6, 2010 at 2:50 p.m.

  • Rebbeca

    I agree anything is better than watching a house burn when you have the resources to put it out. As everything else, the financial s can always be worked out but that house, the memories, and three dogs and a cat; not so much.

    That's not what firemen are trained to do.

    October 6, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.

  • Vox

    What would be the motivation? Please, are you actually commending the actions of that fire chief... The firemen were sicken because they were instructed to just stand by... They said they had a hard time getting to sleep, as I would. Are you saying it's OK for firemen to get injured if the $75.00 is paid up..... That doesn't make any sense. I like it the way it is; you have a heart attack; EMS will take you to the emergency room; if you have a fire, firemen will put out that fire. ... When you start to privatize what we deem public services; that's exactly the road it takes... Money will decide the priorities of service.

    I never said he had money to draft; that was one of three suggestions, rather than sit by and watch the home burn.
    Personal responsibility.... Careful what you wish for.

    October 6, 2010 at 2 p.m.

  • What would the motivation be for the rest of the county's citizens to pay the $75 fee if they know they'll get service anyway...or that they don't have to pay until it's needed?

    What if a fireman is seriously injured or died while putting out that fire?

    What if they used up all the water fighting the fire for this guy, but the fire spreads to a neighbor who did pay the fee and that house burns down? There's not unlimited water resources out there you know.

    They could charge the homeowner a fee for doing it on the spot? Really? A guy who doesn't pay $75 is expected to pay a greater fee or have his bank account drafted. This is a guy who lives out in the sticks in a doublewide trailer. Those things go up in flames pretty quick. Let's say they did put the fire out--he most likely still wouldn't have a house that could be lived in, but you expect the owner to have his account drafted anyway.

    The $75 fee has been in place for over 20 years as stated in your blog. It's an optional fee, you choose to pay it or you don't. If you don't pay it...that is to say if $75 a year is not important enough for you to protect your house in the event of a fire...then that's your decision and you deal with the consequences.

    It's personal responsibility folks. Don't blame others when you don't take care of business.

    October 6, 2010 at 1:45 p.m.

  • ...rather than watching houses burn down.

    I'm reading Fahrenheit 451 out loud to my 14 year old, speaking of "firemen."

    October 6, 2010 at 1:18 p.m.

  • How about "pay $75.00 for fire protection NOW or be charged $150.00 each time you need the service."

    October 6, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.