Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Obion County, Tennessee, Firefighting Policy

This is a picture of a firefighter who stood by and watched a citizen's home burn to the groundby Dick Mac

I have heard of a controlled fire, or controlled burn, when firefighters allow one thing to burn in the hope of saving other things. It's always made sense to me.

This story of firefighters allowing a fire to burn is not about controlling a larger disaster, it is about being punitive to a family who failed to participate in a money-gouging scheme by Obion County, Tennessee.

Please watch:

Although the homeowner told the fire department he would pay them any amount of money that it cost to extinguish the inferno, they decided to ignore his plea and teach him a seventy-five dollar lesson. I have no way of knowing if the homeowner learned his lesson. He might be a person who believes that the government is gouging him yet again, that he already pays too many taxes, and that he has a right to fire protection. He might not be able to afford the seventy-five dollars.

I wonder if this person without seventy-five dollar fire protection had homeowners' insurance. I wonder if the insurance company will have to pay for the total loss of the home. I wonder what insurance companies think of this pay-as-you-go fire plan.

To me, paying seventy-five dollars for fire protection is a no-brainer. Of course you pay it. The problem for me, the thing I can't wrap my head around is why the County would charge seventy-five dollars to some residents when everyone could be protected for thirteen cents per household.

The County did a study concluding that an annual fee of .13 (thirteen cents) per household in Obion County would be sufficient to cover the costs of the few municipalities protecting the surrounding rural areas.
(See, A Presentation Regarding The Establishment And Implementation of a County-Wide Fire Department). These days, however, we wouldn't want to allow the evil government to impose a thirteen cent tax, because taxes are bad and government is too big; it is better to charge just some of the people $75.00 that they can then choose to pay! And in America, of course, anyone who chooses to not pay the piper will be punished, not helped, not levied additional charges. Nope, you will simply be punished, because a small government has to do that. I guess.

This incident has added gasoline to the fire of the "role of government" debate. So-called conservatives and libertarians think this is, generally, a good scheme. Even conservatives who are offended by the end-result of this incident generally support the underlying notion of pay-as-you-go, small government.

It is important to remember that this so-called conservatism that has swept the nation these past thirty years will lead to more incidents like this, and it will lead to a bankrupt, huge, bloated government; because nobody bloats government spending like Republicans. Just look at the past thirty years of our history: every Republiccan has bloated the budget and burdened working people, while every Democrat has reduced the budget and helped working people.

Conservative talker Kevin Williamson has said:
These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton's firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives.
(See, Pay-for-Spray Fire Department: Doing the Right Thing)

The difference, Mr. Williamson, between the South Fulton Fire Department and the NYPD, thankfully, is that liberal New Yorkers would send the NYPD to Muleshoe, Texas, if they were needed; because that's what liberals do: they help others, no matter the cost. We would help, and sort out the cost later.

I can't imagine any firefighter I know standing-by and letting someone's home burn down -- especially if they are on a firetruck! What kind of person takes a job as a firefighter then watches someone's home burn down? What kind of people are these? How do they look at themselves in the mirror?

I think we should ask!

Here is the contact information for Tommy J. Smith, Fire Chief of South Fulton, whose men stood by and watched a home burn to the ground.

Here is the City of South Fulton (Obion County) Municipal Resources page.

You can visit the Obion County Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page.

Here is Obion County Government website.


Rural Tennessee fire sparks conservative ideological debate

After Firefighters Watched Home Burn, Obion County Expands Subscription-Only Fire Service To More Towns

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These fire fighters should be ashamed of themselves. Look at the REAL men that work in the NYFD or SFFD. These men would wouldn't care about the $75 extortion fee, they would do their job and help a fellow human. Shameful.

Small town backwards logic. Karma will come and bite you on the ass for this.