The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.
Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay.
The mayor said if homeowners don't pay, they're out of luck.
This fire went on for hours because garden hoses just wouldn't put it out. It wasn't until that fire spread to a neighbor's property, that anyone would respond.
Turns out, the neighbor had paid the fee.
This is a travesty, and a tragedy. The inaction of the South Fulton Fire Department over a $75 fee is simply beyond words. How could they? I have seen first-hand the personal devastation caused when someone's home burns down. It is heart breaking, especially for children. To stand by, even under orders from the Chief, is a callus and inhuman act.
Firefighters have a responsibility, just as medics and doctors do, to protect people's lives and property from fire damage no matter who they are. Just as a human body is not a car, neither is someone's home, and to compare fire protection to auto insurance is completely absurd. A house is much more than a collection of walls and a roof, it is where family's keep their most precious memories and heirlooms. I can only imagine the pain this poor family endured watching their family photos, furniture, children's toys, and everything else they held dear disappear in flames as the firefighters refused to respond.
It was only when a neighbor's field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded. Gene Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception and save his home, the chief wouldn't.
We asked him why.
He wouldn't talk to us and called police to have us escorted off the property. Police never came but firefighters quickly left the scene. Meanwhile, the Cranick home continued to burn.
What if someone had been trapped inside? Would they still stand on "principal" and refuse to respond? That is a legitimate question. I'm glad there was a news crew on hand to cause the fire chief some discomfort.<div class="youtube-video"></div>
South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds is a cruel fuck, and every single one of the (all Republican) officials who pretend that this is ok should be run out of office. If he had a shred of fucking decency in his soul, he would have ordered his men to put that fire out and told the City Manager to go to hell. Evidently the cruelty of Chief Wilds didn't sit well with Timothy Cranick, a family member of Gene Cranick, because later that day he allegedly went to the station house and knocked him out.
South Fulton’s fire chief was assaulted Wednesday in the aftermath of a fire where firefighters were unable to respond because the property owner had not paid a rural fire subscription fee.
South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds was treated at an area hospital after being assaulted about 5:45 p.m. at the city’s fire station, located in the South Fulton Municipal Building.
Timothy A. Cranick, 44, a resident of Buddy Jones Road near South Fulton, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, according to South Fulton Police Chief Andy Crocker.
Crocker said the assault stemmed from a fire that occurred earlier in the day and he identified Cranick as a family member of the person whose property burned.
He said Cranick allegedly came to the fire station looking for Wilds, according to witnesses. When the fire chief identified himself and asked if he could help him, Cranick allegedly struck Wilds.
"He just cold-cocked him," Crocker said, based on witness statements.
Crocker said Wilds was knocked down, rendering him virtually defenseless. He said Cranick was pulled off the fire chief by other firefighters who restrained him until additional help arrived.
I never condone violence in reaction to anything beyond a life-threatening situation, but in this instance I can certainly understand it.
I know some people will say that this family should have paid their fee and that they're probably teabaggers who hate taxes, bla bla bla...
I don't give a damn if they're teabaggers or not. That is completely irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that this family's life has been turned upside-down by a vicious local government that doesn't give a shit about them. As a progressive I champion good government for all people, no matter their views.
I just hope that something good can come out of this disgusting event and that the people of Obion County can set up a fire protection service that actually cares about them. If anyone knows of a fund set up to help this family please post in the comments.
Thanks for putting this on the reclist. Didn't expect that.
It seems like the major argument being made by some is that they should have paid the fee because fire protection isn't free, and there could be liability issues. You're absolutely right. However, that doesn't excuse them for allowing a family's home to burn. I don't know the particulars of this county's fire protection laws, and I imagine there isn't anyone here who does, but it seems to me they could enact a fine to pay for instances such as these to avoid a total loss of property and still protect firefighters.
Apparently some of you are under the impression that these people let their house burn for two hours before calling 911. That is not true. They called several times and THEY REFUSED TO RESPOND!
Keith weighs in...
To all the moral scolds who think this guy got what was coming to him I'll just say this...
If this was your home, or your mother's, or your friend's, you would not be saying they had it coming no matter what the situation. Don't lie to yourselves. Have some common decency, and realize that this could happen to someone you know and care about.
Gene Cranick was aware that he had to pay if he wanted to have fire service. He obviously had the money to pay the fee, since he said he would "pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames." Yet, he decided that it wasn't worth $75 to have professional help if his house caught fire. Although it's hard not to feel some sympathy for anybody who loses their home, what happened to Gene Cranick was fair and a natural consequence of his own decision making.
If you share this sentiment then congrats...
You are in total agreement with John Hawkins at Right Wing News.