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Pay Your $75 Fee or the South Fulton Fire Dept. Will Watch Your Home Burn to the Ground, Part II

In South Fulton, Tenn., city residents receive service from the South Fulton Fire Department. People who live outside the city limits, however, must pay an annual $75 county fire service fee if they want the SFFD to respond to a call about a fire at their home. 

As I discussed here last year, the South Fulton Fire Department has made it abundantly clear that if you don't pay your annual $75 county fire service fee, they will stand by and watch your house burn to the ground, period, end of discussion. They did just that in October 2010, for instance, when non-$75-fee payer Gene Cranick's house caught on fire -- the SFFD refused to lift a finger until the fire spread to a fee-paying neighbor's field. Indeed, even when the SFFD was at the scene to extinguish the field, they still refused to put the fire out at Cranick's home.

The SFFD received a lot of criticism after it let Cranick's house burn down, but the city feels it has little choice but to take this hard-line approach. The South Fulton mayor said this week that if they make an exception for one house, then no one will pay the "pay-for-spray" fee. "There's no way to go to every fire and keep up the manpower, the equipment, and just the funding for the fire department," he said to WPSD News. "After the last situation, I would hope that everybody would be well aware of the rural fire fees."

Vicky Bell is the most recent homeowner to suffer the consequences of not paying the $75 "pay-for-spray" fee. She and her boyfriend live in a rural area outside of South Fulton that is subject to the fee. She admits that she was aware of the fee and the policy "but did not subscribe because she and her boyfriend did not think they would ever be victims of a fire," The Associated Press reports. On Monday of this week, however, Bell's home caught fire (possibly due to a space heater) and she called 9-1-1 hoping the SFFD would help. She says the SFFD did come out, but it simply watched as her house burnt. The sight of the SFFD and its trucks standing by as her house burnt down "was almost as disturbing as the fire itself," she said.

Below is local new station WSPD's report on the SFFD's decision not to help extinguish the fire at Bell's home.


Posted by Bruce Carton on December 7, 2011 at 03:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (27)


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