Tennessee Firefighters Let Another Home Burn To The Ground

South Fulton firefighters did it again. A home in Obion County Tennessee burned to the ground as responding units watched from their fire engines. Readers will recall this same fire department just last year watched as a home burned to the ground as the homeowners pleaded for help. Inside that home were family pets and generations of family heirlooms, all was lost.

This week they did it again reports the Wall Street Journal.

Firefighters responded when the home in Obion County, Tenn., caught fire, but didn’t extinguish it because the fee that the nearby town of South Fulton collects hadn’t been paid. Last year, another home — which also contained three dogs and a cat — in Obion County also burned to the ground for the same reason.
The South Fulton mayor, David Crocker, said the city makes no exceptions. “There’s no way to go to every fire and be able to keep up the manpower, the equipment, and just the funding for the fire department,” he said, according to MSNBC.
Crocker also noted that firefighters will help people in danger, whether they have paid or not.
Nearby Blount County, Tenn., also has a subscription service, but the fire chief says the same situation wouldn’t happen there, according to The Daily Times. Blount County charges a $100 annual fee, but nonsubscribers can pay $2,200 for the first two hours firefighters respond to a scene, and $1,100 for each additional hour.
After last year’s fire, the Obion County commission voted to expand subscription-based service in the county, over the objections of people like fire chief Bob Reavis, who said, “Subscriptions should be left to newspapers and magazines,” Time reported.

My previous post on this subject elicited 84 comments, by far the biggest response in the 8 years I’ve been blogging. I was late to this news but my inbox has been flooded with Tennessee locals beyond furious at this latest news.

If you are so inclined fire away, Firefighter Blog wants all opinions.

(Generic image, not South Fulton)


  • Gafiredawg11 says:

    A couple things I would like to point out…first and foremost do not get mad at the Fire Department, they are doing their job just as they are told.  In areas like this and this situation say the fire department worked the job like any other who paid their subscription and one of the firemen was injured on the scene, the insurance would not cover his/her injury because the insurance company could say they acted outside of protocol and should not have been fighting that fire to begin with.  So if you want to get mad, then get mad at the governmental officals who choose to run a system like this, the guys on the rig are just doing their job!  The other thing to notice about this particular FD is paying or not paying does not come into play when lives are at stake.

    When speaking of someone who can’t “afford” to pay the $75/year fire subscription, I have seen where some have said the government should help them out, or let it slide…but who draws the line as to who gets help and who doesn’t?  A system like this either has to be everyone pays, or no one pays, there is no middle ground.  How would you feel if your house was burning and you did pay your fire subscription, but the fire department was putting out another house for someone who didn’t pay theirs?  You can make up scenarios to meet any side you want.

    Bottom line is this type of system stinks, but that is what they have.  If someone chooses not to pay then they take the risk, if they can’t afford it for whatever reason then they have put other needs in front of fire protection and they may be worth it, but they chose it. 

  • Popknot says:

    “communities deserve the fire protection they have”

    Nothing is free in this world. You either pay taxes to support a FD or you don’t. In the event of the latter, it would seem you have a CHOICE whether or not, to subscribe, and receive fire protection.

    These homeowners made a choice and are now reaping the reward for their actions.

    Why is everybody so butthurt over this ?

    Where in the Bible does it say that “all fires will be extinguished, free of charge ?

    Where in our Constitution doers it say “all Americans are entitled to free fire protection ?

  • Kac501 says:

    Your fire department is an absolute disgrace!!!!! My husband is the fire chief in our town and when that siren goes off those guys jump on that truck and do their job, NEVER EVER do they stop to check and see if the resident in need contributed to their department. It is a very sad day when you put a $75 value on someones life or property. Did you ever stop to think that maybe these people can’t afford to pay the $75, maybe they need that $75 to pay for medicine. Whatever happened to helping your neighbor? I only hope that one day all of you firefighters who stood around and did nothing, I hope you or a member of your family needs help someday and no one comes to your aid!!!!! Shame on all of you!!! Just remember… pay backs are a bitch!

  • I have no words to discuss on this matter.

  • Amynudetelemarketer says:

    maybe the top 1% of american could cover this problem

  • Amynudetelemarketer says:

    Maybe they need to cut back on their fire trucks so the can drop the 75.00 fee it seems to have gone aver board–maybe hire the 20.000 dollar unployed to fill in

  • Jeanette says:

    So, are we willing to live in this apocalyptic landscape, among burned-out homes, people dying in the streets from lack of shelter/health care, whatever?  Will you peer through the window, or stand on the lawn and chat with your neighbor as his house burns down, knowing you have paid your “subscription” and the firefighters will give you a squirt or two if the fire gets too close?  Oh wait, you were a little late… your check was lost… sorry. No hoses for you today.

  • Lilla Pappa says:

    Pretty sure the firefighters themselves are sickened at having to make these choices because their fat-cat bosses force them to.  Wonder what their supervisors and civic politicians take in salary, and what kind of pay cut they’d be willing to take to subsidize the $100 subscription for those who have no means?  Tapdancing morons claiming they’re all about the ‘public good’ – right up until they’re asked to do good for the public.

  • I guess Greed over comes Humanity..

    • hazel hoe says:

      It’s called getting what you pay for. The fire service is there because people pay their bills. As someone who pays a lot for fire service I don’t want my fire department responding to fires at structures that don’t pay to support the district. That just means less protection and decreased service for those that do pay.

      • Lilla Pappa says:

        Spoken like a lackey to the rich who’s still getting paid for hurting your fellow man.  When you lose YOUR job and can’t pay the fee, your tune’ll change.  Sure, no problem when it’s someone ELSE.  Don’t come snivelling to me when you can’t afford to protect YOUR loved ones.  Selfish ass.

      • Jeanette says:

        I would like to point out that even though you pay your fees, you might not enjoy living next door to a burning house that was not being extinguished.